Arsenal star Mesut Ozil has revealed that he was on the verge of signing for Barcelona prior to his move to Real Madrid in the summer of 2010.
The German international made his name during the World Cup finals in South Africa where his nation were ousted in the semi-finals by eventual champions Spain.
Following the major showpiece, the 28-year-old had captured the attention of a whole host of clubs, but it was Los Blancos, who managed to secure his services in a deal worth £12.8m from German side Werder Bremen.
In a recent interview with German outlet Bild, Ozil admitted that he was keen on plying his trade for arch-rivals Barcelona before making his switch to the Bernabeu.
Ozil’s current club Arsenal, alongside several others including Manchester United, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich were keen on the player’s services, but it was a move to Barca that had appealed him the best.
He told Bild: “Arsenal were interested in signing me after the 2010 World Cup, as were Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
“My agent sat down with Bayern to discuss a move. The club told him about their plans with me and how they intended to use me. He had similar talks with the other clubs that wanted me.
“Before I travelled to Barcelona, I was convinced that was my next club. I was leaning toward Barcelona. There was no team in the world that played more beautiful football.
However, on his arrival to Camp Nou, he saw less commitment from then-manager Pep Guardiola, who opted to decline his calls – thereby ending the midfielder’s interest in the club.
He added: “But Guardiola did not attend talks and he did not call me either the days after. He did not even send me a text.
“He did not show me that he wanted to sign me as well. My interest in a move to Barcelona quickly decreased.”
Ozil spent three more seasons with Real Madrid before moving on to the Emirates on a club-record £42.5m deal in 2013.
He has since emerged as a key performer in the ‘number 10’ role and remains an integral part of the Gunners squad despite his shortcomings during the ongoing campaign.
The World Cup winner will seek to return to his old self this weekend when his side take on rivals Liverpool in a crucial Premier League clash.
Arsenal are currently just a point above the Reds with a game in hand, and a win at Anfield could firm their place in the top-four for yet another season.
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