x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Ozil can become a hero for a whole new legion

Leaving Real Madrid has given Mesut Ozil the chance to become a hero at Arsenal.

Mesut Ozil , right, has left Real Madrid for Arsenal. AP Photo
Mesut Ozil , right, has left Real Madrid for Arsenal. AP Photo

Manchester United received the mandate for Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil on August 16, the day before the Premier League began. Ozil was represented by his father. United rated the German, but he was not what they were seeking.

The combination of high wages, a £40 million (Dh231.7m) transfer fee and excessive demands from the agent meant United said no. Publicly, Ozil maintained that he was happy at Madrid. His body language suggested otherwise.

Madrid laughed off suggestions that he was to be sold - and then let him go to Arsenal on transfer deadline day. With 12 midfielders vying for five positions and Gareth Bale newly arrived, Ozil feared for his place in the side. He started 32 of Madrid's 38 games last season. He is versatile and can play in several attacking roles, but the chances of him starting a similar number this season looked remote.

He was reluctant to leave a club where he thrived over three seasons, yet Madrid wanted back some of the money they had spent for Bale. Ozil's departure did not go down well with his teammates, especially Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos who expressed their disappointment at losing him.

Yet in moving to Arsenal he has arrived at a huge club where the fans are looking for a star to love.

Sales of Gunners' shirts with Ozil's name on the back have outsold Madrid ones with "Bale" by 5 to 1. Arsenal needed a new hero and their fans hope to see Ozil, who was excellent for Germany on Tuesday, for the first time this weekend.

Madrid? They already had too many heroes.

sports@thenational.ae