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Mesut Özil says faith in Wenger so great, he would have joined Arsenal “for free”

Sep 8, 2013, 10:24 AM EDT

Mesut Ozil AP

Former Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Özil has praised Arsene Wenger for convincing him he belongs at Arsenal, and even went so far as to say he would have joined Arsenal for free.

He says Wenger called him personally on Deadline Day and spoke to him in perfect German.  “Something clicked on that phone call” Özil told German paper Die Welt.  “He showed me exactly what I was missing at Real – transparency, trust, and respect. He told me exactly how he views me, how he plans to use me, and what he expects of me.”

He added, “I would have come for free.” It’s a bold statement from the German, who will join the Gunners in search of trophies, something that has eluded the London club since 2005.

(MORE: Report says Arsenal to begin contract talks with Wenger)

Reports recently have surfaced in Spain that say Özil fell out of favor with Real Madrid officials thanks to a lavish lifestyle that involved contact with many women, and may have led to a drop in match fitness.  In his three-plus years at Real Madrid, Özil’s 105 La Liga appearances saw him substituted off 58 times.

With the purchase of Gareth Bale, it allowed Madrid to part ways with Özil despite the backlash from fans.

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