The Ozil-Wenger axis

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SummaryMesut Ozil has brought in a breath of fresh air at the Emirates. And with just one signing, Arsenal manager Wenger has once again made his club a Premier League title contender

So, as it turned out, Mesut Ozil was just one convincing phone call away from leaving Real Madrid, so frustrated he became at the Spanish club. In pursuit of Gareth Bale, what Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and coach Carlo Ancelotti did to the German ‘artist’ bordered on disrespect. Arsene Wenger came to know about Ozil’s availability late. He never doled out 42 million pounds for any footballer. But this man was special and Wenger picked up the phone just 24 hours before the transfer deadline.

Lengthy discussion followed in German. It’s always useful to have a football manager with multilingual skills. Wenger described at length how he wanted Ozil to be the conductor of the show and the tip of his “diamond”. Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski, too, spoke to their Germany teammate and as Arsenal were hosting Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates last Sunday, the club’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis was arriving at Madrid to seal the contract.

The deal proved that there’s still fire in the old Wenger. No one ever doubted his ability. The 63-year-old has confirmed his place in football history by shaping the “invincibles” but, of late, Wenger appeared to be concentrating more on building the club finances than winning silverwares. He became a miser in the transfer market.

But eight trophy-less seasons were too much for the fans to accept and discontent was rapidly growing in the terraces. Wenger is in the final year of his contract and the “#WengerOut” hashtag was getting increasingly popular on Twitter. The great manager was accused of losing his ambition. But how well did he respond. Ozil has brought in a breath of fresh air and belief at the Emirates. And with just one signing, Wenger has once again made his club a Premier League title contender.

Real Madrid’s decision to sacrifice a gem has naturally irked the top stars at Santiago Bernabeu. “He was the player who best knew my moves on the pitch. I’m angry at Ozil leaving,” Cristiano Ronaldo was quoted as saying.

Sergio Ramos said Ozil would have been the last person to leave the club if the decision were his to take. Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas, an ex-Gunner, described Ozil as the “second-best player at Real Madrid” behind Ronaldo. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho called him “the best number 10 in the world” and stopped Demba Ba’s loan move to Arsenal at the last moment because he feared the duo

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