LONDON: As the transfer window clicked shut so Arsenal smashed their club transfer record by splashing £42.4m on Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil and champions Manchester United landed Marouane Fellaini writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Figures from Deloitte revealed English clubs as Europe’s leaders in the summer transfer market with a net spend of £400m followed by France £130M and Germany £50m.
More evidence that the Spanish league has become – the Big Two apart – a selling market was an overall surplus of £95m despite the Gareth Bale deal. Italian clubs were £10m in profit.
Overall spending was topped by England (£630m) followed by Spain and Italy (£335m), France (£315m) and Germany (£230m).
Arsenal’s late swoop established Ozil as the second most expensive purchase in English football history, after £50m Fernando Torres.
The German has been credited with as many assists as Leo Messi during the last three seasons in the Spanish league and was as delighted with the move to north London as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Madrid had decided that Ozil was surplus to requirements after breaking the world transfer record by splashing £86m on Tottenham’s Wales star Gareth Bale.
Ozil will wear the No11 shirt at Arsenal, his transfer having eclipsed the previous £15m record spend on Andrei Arshavin. Gunners fans, perhaps hoping for more new arrivals, will hope Ozil proves more committed and effective.
In a hello-and-goodbye message, Ozil said: “Dear fans of Real Madrid. Thank you very much for three wonderful years with all of you. My time at Real Madrid was unique and special for me.
“Sometimes things develop differently, than I would have expected them to a few days ago. Although I’m leaving Real Madrid, I wish you and the team the very best for the future. Now, I’m looking forward to my new club: The Gunners.”
Ozil, 24, underwent a medical in Munich, where he is on international duty.
Commenting on the Arsenal move, Ozil said: “I am thrilled to be joining a club of the stature of Arsenal and am looking forward to playing in the Premier League. 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.”
Before Sunday’s 1-0 win over big-spending Tottenham, Wenger had failed in bids for Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Yohan Cabaye. His only other signing were Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Flamini and the loan of Palermo goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano.
Wenger said: “Ozil is a great player, with proven quality at both club and international level. We have watched and admired him for some time as he has all the attributes I look for in an Arsenal player.
“I have said throughout the summer that we have been working hard to bring in top quality players to this football club. This has involved many, many people across the club and I have always had the full support of the club in making decisions on the football side.
“Mesut is a top quality footballer who will be a fantastic addition to our talented squad. We are all looking forward to him joining up with us after his international matches with Germany and working with us as an Arsenal player.”
Manchester United left it so late to complete the purchase of Belgium midfielder Fellaini that they had to pay £27m which was around £4m more than the fee started in his original clause. However they appeared to have been unable to sign Portugal leftback Fabio Contrao on loan from Real Madrid.
Everton replaced Fellaini by buying James McCarthy from manager Roberto Martinez’s former club, Wigan. Martinez also signed veteran England midfielder Gareth Barry on loan from Manchester City.