When Arsenal snapped up Mesut Ozil this summer it was truly a magnificent coup - and it had Gunners fans across London and the world wringing their hands with anticipation of seeing potentially the world’s best playmaker in Arsenal colours.
The Gunners smashed their transfer record to bring in the German for a fee in the region of £42.5 million from Real Madrid - after Ozil was not exactly made to feel indispensable by the club when interest arose in his services.
So he made the move, and it does not seem to be one he regrets.
He has spoken to FourFourTwo magazine about his experience in London so far - and in general spoke about his love for the city and that he prefers the more reserved lifestyle in the city compared to the press intrusion he received in Madrid.
He also said that the Premier League was ‘the best’ league in the world and that the fact he had compatriots at Arsenal was not the reason he joined Arsenal - but rather the trust he felt from Arsene Wenger.
It was a very positive interview and clearly Ozil is a player very comfortable and confident in his new surroundings both on and off the pitch - which is probably music to the ears of Arsenal fans.
But one bit of the interview that did catch the eye was when he was quizzed on who he aspires to; which footballer Mesut Ozil looks up to and says ‘I want to be as good as …’
“I used to play with my brother and his friends. They were five years older and all taller than me. So it wasn't easy to assert myself. But I learnt how to prevail and that's when all they said: ‘you are going to make it’. I just wanted to have fun and be like my favourite player, Zinedine Zidane.”
This is interesting because he left Zidane at Real Madrid to move to Arsenal - and Zizou was quite critical of his decision at the time, insinuating he lacked fight:
“Ozil decided to leave. He is a good player who has given us so much so we wish him well. There are players who have responded with strength and will to fight for a place but not everyone reacted in the same way. Di Maria responded well and wanted to fight for us.”
Never meet your hero’s right.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald