Mesut Ozil has opened up on his five-year spell at Arsenal and his ‘unique’ connection with the club’s fans.
Ozil had spent three years at Real Madrid when he found himself at a crossroads in his career in 2014 and decided the time was right to leave the Spanish capital.
Before he moved to the Bernabeu he had made a promise to Arsene Wenger that if he ever left, the Arsenal boss would be the first person he called.
The German playmaker followed through on that promise and after discussions with the Frenchman, he agreed to what was then a club record £42.5 million transfer.
Ozil said: “When I had moved to Real Madrid, Arsene had asked me if I wanted to come to Arsenal. I said ‘believe me in the future, if I have the opportunity to change my club, you will be the first place for me’.
“After that, we spoke and I decided to come to Arsenal because I remembered watching Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires – such great footballers – and I wanted to be part of that too.”
Ozil added: “I’ve been told so many times over the years that this is how Bergkamp played. Of course that makes me proud and it is an honour to be compared to him. Bergkamp is a living legend at arsenal and he was an amazing footballer.
“But I do not want to compare myself with anybody. I have my own style and I’ve had it since I was a kid. I am proud of these comparisons, but I am Mesut Ozil.”
Having arrived in 2014, Ozil won two successive FA Cups and completed the hat-trick in 2017 when Arsenal saw off Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley.
The German has polarised opinions throughout his stay in England and has often been the subject of intense scrutiny due to his languid playing style, with many critics labelling him as lazy.
Arsenal fans have taken the 30-year-old to their hearts, however, and Ozil admits the supporters still leave him with ‘goosebumps’ on a weekly basis.
“I wanted to come here and be successful with this team,” he said. “In my first and second year we won the FA Cup, and then another in 2017, so I’m enjoying playing for this club.
“The fans have backed me ever since I arrived five years ago and because of that, I’ve been able to play in my preferred style.
“To have my own song is a unique thing for me. When I heard it for the first time I had goosebumps and I still get them every time I hear it.
“I’m just really thankful for that amazing support.”