Mesut Ozil: The rise and fall of Arsenal's assist king

Mesut Ozil HIC 16:9GOAL

When it first emerged that Arsenal were interested in signing Kai Havertz, there was an immediate temptation to dismiss the report as fake news. Even correspondents with excellent sources within the club were taken aback by the claim that the Gunners were willing to spend big on a player who had scored just 19 goals in 91 games for Chelsea.

It truly was, then, a transfer that took everyone outside of the Emirates by complete surprise. And yet it was nothing compared to the shockwaves generated by Arsenal's previous acquisition of a young Germany international a decade ago.

In the summer of 2013, Real Madrid broke the world transfer record to sign Gareth Bale from Tottenham - but that created a (Financial Fair Play) problem for Florentino Perez's accounts department. A valuable asset would have to be sold in order to balance the books - and Arsenal knew it.

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The London club's former transfer negotiator, Dick Law, flew to Spain to meet with Madrid's general manager, Jose Angel Sanchez, who revealed that the club would even consider selling Karim Benzema or Angel Di Maria. Only Carlo Ancelotti was having none of it. He wasn't prepared to lose either player. However, the Italian was open to letting Mesut Ozil leave.