John Cross of the Daily Mirror has written that new Arsenal signing Mesut Özil had a better fiduciary offer on the table from Paris Saint-Germain, but that he turned it down because, well, because Arsène Wenger, that's why:
The midfielder had a bigger offer from big-spending French champions PSG but decided to join the Gunners after lengthy talks with Wenger over the telephone in the past few days.
Wenger spelled out Arsenal’s ambition to win silverware and for Ozil to be part of his football vision, as well as telling him that he would be his "dream" signing.
Now, of course, the offer from Arsenal wasn't peanuts. All that aside, though, there are a number of key points here:
- Wenger was working on this for a while, mostly in silence as far as the press knew (although there were rumblings that something with Germany and Real Madrid were up).
- Wenger still commands a lot of respect from the football world in general.
- Wenger's not afraid to spend on players he thinks are worth it.
As to the second point above, Özil himself had this to say:
"I am thrilled to be joining a club of the stature of Arsenal and am looking forward to playing in the Premier League," he said. "It will be great for my own personal development as a player and I am particularly looking forward to working with Arsene Wenger.
"From our negotiations it is clear the club has huge ambition and I look forward to being part of an exciting future."
After all the animosity vented towards Wenger in the Arsenal-speaking world over the past few weeks, months, years, much of which is understandable because the man doesn't speak to placate supporters, but speaks what he feels is right, I think it's important to note that just about every criticism of Wenger's style is draining away today, as he has basically flamethrowered his previous transfer record into the ether, all while fending off competition in the form of endless bags of cash. I think he deserves a bit of a break for a while, myself.
For the only man whom I've ever known as an Arsenal manager to have shown that he's as willing to do what he can to win even now feels really, really cool.
It's going to be a really fun autumn.