Here is how Arsenal fooled Tottenham Hotspur to sign Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid in 2013.
Former Arsenal’s negotiator Dick Law claimed how the Gunners misdirected Spurs before signing Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid. In the meanwhile, the Los Blancos were hoping to sign Gareth Bale during the end of the transfer window.
Arsenal fans will never forget the 2013 summer deadline day. The news broke out to supporters euphoria when the signing of Mesut Ozil was made official. However, they made a mockery out of Spurs before landing the World Cup winner.
In an interview with Goal, Law claimed: “It was an incredible deal to be a part of,”
“That was the moment when all the work we had put together through the years in terms of acting as a unit, came together. But the story of Ozil, is actually called the story of Gareth Bale.”
Back in the summer of 2013, Real Madrid had a persisting interest on Gareth Bale. The Welsh International also made his feelings known to the club, but the negotiator Daniel Levy was playing hardball with the Los Blancos. Carlo Ancelotti wanted to sign the Welsh, but he was told to get rid of one of the forwards or attacking midfielders to fund deal for Bale.
“Real Madrid, for all of their firepower, really stretched themselves when they bought Bale,” explained Law. “They paid an extraordinary amount of money for him and they gave him an extraordinary contract, what that meant was they needed to sell somebody. So it’s the Bale story that leads us to Ozil.
“We got signals from Madrid that they had players for sale, so I flew out to meet with Jose Angel Sanchez, the general manager of Madrid, and he said that the club would consider selling Karim Benzema or Angel Di Maria – and he gave me a number.
“So I called Ivan and Arsene. We were all very cautious and sceptical, but the one thing we knew based on that meeting was they had to sell someone.”
Following the Champions League clash with Galatasaray, Ivan Gazidis flew from Turkey to the Capital city of Spain to negotiate with Real Madrid. The following morning, the name of Mesut Ozil was brought up.
“We sat down with Jose Angel, who said that Ancelotti didn’t want to sell either of Benzema or Di Maria, but he would sell Ozil,” said Law.
“Long story short, Arsene was interested as we needed that type of player in midfield. But we didn’t know where Ozil stood.
“We asked to speak to him, but Madrid said they wanted to first. I don’t think that was a happy phone call for Ozil. We then spoke to him and his father and business advisor flew over to London where we met with them.”
Talks between Arsenal and Ozil progressed well, but there was a major stumbling block. Daniel Levy, who is known for his aggressive negotiation skills had delayed the inevitable departure of Gareth Bale.
Spurs have not sanctioned a move and Bale was already in Spain. On the other side, Arsenal knew that they would not be able to sign Mesut Ozil if the Bale deal falls through.
— Goal News (@GoalNews) July 4, 2019
Just 36 hours before the end of the transfer window, there was a North London derby between Arsenal and Spurs at the Emirates. Law was negotiating in Germany with the players’ representatives and Gazidis did not risk heading back to London before the concluding the deal.
Law added: “We had finalised a deal with Madrid. Ivan was there and I was now in Munich with Ozil – and this was literally the morning of the Tottenham match when Ivan calls me.
“He said that he couldn’t get back to London for the match because he was finishing up the agreement and that one of us needed to be in the directors’ box or else Daniel Levy was going to get very nervous.
“Jose Angel had told Ivan that Levy had called him and said the one last condition of the Bale deal was Madrid couldn’t sell any players to Arsenal.
“Ivan’s response was that Levy was bluffing because he’d already spent the Bale money. But he still said to me that we couldn’t take a chance and asked if I could get from Munich to London to be in the directors’ box because Tottenham were starting to think something was going down.
“So, I got a flight at 11am, changed on the way and when I walked into the directors’ box I saw Franco Baldini and Levy and they asked what I was doing. I said it was the derby, I wasn’t going to miss it.”
Dick Law flew back to Munich and completed the formalities in twelve hours to wind off late interest from Manchester United. This will go down as one of the best transfer stories in recent history. Three hours after the game, Gareth Bale was officially announced as Real Madrid player.