How Wenger and Arsenal staged Ozil coup
Goal Transfer List 2013: It took a series of private meetings and a huge fee for the Gunners to smash their transfer record and pull off one of the year’s most surprising deals.
Should a film ever be made about some of the key events in Arsenal's recent history, true authenticity could only be achieved by including Totteridge as an on-set location.
The leafy lanes of this north London suburb have long been home to manager Arsene Wenger and, when the Frenchman is keen to conduct important club business away from prying eyes, invitations are made to visit his gated mansion. When David Dein was forced out of Arsenal by a boardroom coup, his first port of call was Wenger's family house. When Robin van Persie opened fresh contract talks with the club at the start of the summer he joined Manchester United, the first meeting was convened in Wenger's front room.
Furthermore, when Arsenal closed in on the biggest signing in the club’s history, the deal was sealed chez Wenger.
It was to Totteridge, rather than Emirates Stadium, Arsenal's London Colney training ground or a neutral hotel, that Mesut Ozil was summoned to put the finishing touches to his stunning 50 million euro move from Real Madrid.
Speaking about Arsenal's club-record signing in November, Wenger said: 'The first contact happened at my place, for discretion. He (Ozil) came to my house and he decided quickly. He decided in 24 hours.'
It is understood that the decisive meeting took place in the week that preceded the closure of the summer transfer window.
In a cloak-and-dagger manner not uncommon in marquee transfer deals (who can forget Dimitar Berbatov being whisked to Old Trafford from Manchester airport under a blanket in Sir Alex Ferguson's car?), Arsenal had kept its move for Ozil shrouded in secrecy.
After reaching a verbal agreement with the club at Wenger's house, Ozil visited the Gunners' training base to undergo the first phase of his medical.
Ozil’s arrival sparked a reversal in Arsenal’s fortunes