Mesut Ozil turned down offers worth £1million-a-week to commit his future to Arsenal.
The 30-year-old German eventually signed a contract extension in January, having entered the final six months of his previous agreement after months of difficult negotiations in which he was repeatedly linked with a move to Turkish side Fenerbahce.
Arsenal made Ozil the highest-paid player in their history in a £350,000-a-week deal, but Standard Sport can reveal the playmaker rejected advances from Asia worth three times that amount – around £1m-a-week.
In a rare UK interview, Ozil’s agent, Dr Erkut Sogut, outlined why the contract took so long to be agreed, but rejected claims that money was the principal stumbling block.
“We had some really big offers from Asia – there were some crazy offers,” he said. “But, for Mesut, money was by no means the biggest factor.
“Money is definitely one important thing to consider, but people must remember that footballing ability is just one aspect of a contract negotiation. The commercial impact of a footballer is crucial nowadays.
“Mesut has the biggest social media following of any player in the Premier League and I just read that his shirt numbers (sales) were the largest at the club. At the end of the day, this is all information that has to be taken into consideration. So, the commercial side is very big with a player like Mesut, who has played in different countries and was the No10 of the Germany team, where he won the World Cup. His market is worldwide. The club makes money out of these players as well.”
Ozil was previously earning around £140,000-a-week prior to signing his new deal, which ties him to the club until 2021. Last week, he left the door open to staying at Arsenal for the rest of his career, while also suggesting he could play on until he is 35 or 36.
Ozil may be a polemic figure at times, having attracted strong criticism from a number of pundits, including Graeme Souness and Martin Keown, over his attitude, but Sogut insists his client’s fondness for the club he joined from Real Madrid for £42.4million in 2013 is unwavering.
“It came down to what was in his heart,” said Sogut. “We were free to sign with other clubs and, in the end, Mesut loves the club. I put everything to him and he just said, ‘This is my home, I want to be here’.”
Ozil is currently enjoying some time out of the spotlight after opting to quit the German national team, following their disappointing showing at the World Cup in Russia.
Germany face Russia in a friendly on Thursday before a Nations League clash against the Netherlands on Monday and coach Joachim Low has admitted there is no prospect of Ozil returning after citing a lack of support from the country’s football federation over his decision to meet Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.