Outgoing Bayer Leverkusen CEO Wolfgang Holzhauser has revealed he turned down the chance to sign Mesut Özil for £4.6 million when the player was at Schalke.
The German eventually moved to Werder Bremen and Real Madrid before completing a club record £42.4 million move to Arsenal on deadline day in one of the biggest deals of the summer.
Holzhauser believed the £4.6 million price tag to be too high for an 18-year old who had been in trouble with his coach before.
“There were negative headlines about him at the time because Özil’s former coach Mirko Slomka had made his anger over contract negotiations public.”
“I said at the time ‘people, £4.6 million for an 18-year old boy who has already had trouble with his coach? We will wait and see what becomes of him.”
Well… Werder Bremen were willing to pay out for him and he shone for them in a bright two-year spell before earning a dream move to Real Madrid after excelling with Germany at the 2010 World Cup before becoming the most expensive German player in his move to Arsenal last month.
Another deal that he rejected with at the helm of Leverkusen was for current Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan when he was at Nurnberg after overpaying for Andre Schurrle.
“We did not take him in the end because Andre Schurrle was more expensive than we thought.”