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There were probably a fair few football fans that were surprised when Arsenal splashed £42.5m (€50m) to secure the signing of Mesut Özil in 2013.
Not only did the Gunners break their club-record transfer fee at the time, but also Real Madrid allowed the 30-year-old midfielder to leave after he had a fantastic final season in Spain.
While Özil faced direct competition from the likes of Luka Modrić, former Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger capitalised on the situation, spoke to the former German international on the phone and told him that he would be an important player in his first team.
"At the weekend, I was certain I would stay at Real Madrid, but afterwards I realised I did not have the faith from the coach or the bosses," Özil told the press in 2013 (via the Daily Mirror).
"I am a player who needs this faith and that is what I have felt from Arsenal, which is why I have joined."
Former Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo wasn't happy with the situation, especially for the impact that Özil had on the team.
"The sale of Özil is very bad news for me," he said. "He was the player who best knew my moves in front of goal. I'm angry about Özil leaving."
Özil, who turned down a lucrative contract to stay at Arsenal, has made over 100 appearances for the club and became an integral part of the squad under Wenger and current manager Unai Emery.
Last month, the Gunners star responded to criticism he received from Graeme Souness after the Sky Sports pundit said that he "does go missing in games where Arsenal don't dominate the ball and in the big games I'd question if he's turned up."
"I just laugh," Özil said in response.
"I am not the youngest anymore but I started playing professionally at the age of 16 or 17. It's always been up and down with me -- people either like me or they don't.
"I don't listen to these people -- I just listen to my coach and my people who say things straight to my face. So of course, if I play bad, I know that just as I know when I play well."
Did Madrid make the right decision to sell Özil?
Let us know in the comments.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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