New Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick’s reasons for previously rejecting a move to Arsenal have finally come to light – and it makes for bad reading for Mesut Ozil.
Rangnick has made a solid start to life at Old Trafford since being named the semi-permanent replacement for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Indeed, two wins and a draw in his three matches in charge are a marked improvement on their form under Solskjaer. Still, the Norwegian was allowed a dignified exit with his reputation as a club legend still in tact.
However, Rangnick could have been a Premier League manager far sooner had Arsenal got their way. With Arsene Wenger retiring from management in 2018 after 22 years in charge, Rangnick was the Gunners’ No 1 choice.
Indeed, Sky Sports reported that Rangnick was very much in their thinking to replace Wenger.
The Gunners were looking for a figurehead to replace the legendary Wenger and Rangnick was recommended to them.
Wenger’s assistants at the time Jens Lehmann was an “advocate” of Rangnick’s.
Meanwhile, another German connection at The Emirates, Arsenal Academy coach Per Mertesacker, was given his debut by Rangnick at Hannover as a 19-year old.
The outlet stated the “two remain friends” and was very much open to his appointment.
However, despite reports to the contrary that Arsenal chose against him, Goal Germany, in fact, claims the opposite.
They state it was actually Rangnick who pulled the plug on them – and it was all down to the new contract given to Ozil.
Huge new Mesut Ozil contract
Indeed, with his contract running down, Arsenal’s board made the drastic decision to extend his stay.
Having been bitten by Alexis Sanchez’s Manchester United move a year earlier, Arsenal did not want history to repeat itself.
So, in January 2018, the Gunners’ board took a drastic decision.
Ozil, then aged 29, signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal worth a staggering £350,000 a week.
It comfortably made him the club’s highest earner – and removed doubts he was planning to leave.
Arsenal targetting Wijnaldum, Richarlison
Their improvements need to be made further up the field, and these two targets show they clearly understand that.
However, Rangnick was strongly opposed to the club’s decision to make such a huge financial commitment to Ozil.
With negotiations for him to replace Wenger already underway, Rangnick was asked for his thoughts on the Ozil situation.
And he advised them that such a large commitment to the player was a bad move – a factor that ultimately proved correct.
Indeed, having gone against his advice and seeing Ozil sign such a large deal, he reportedly brought negotiations with Arsenal to a halt.
Ozil’s decline, meanwhile, saw him gradually fall out of favour and ultimately spend large periods on the sidelines.
That fall from grace saw him excluded from Mikel Arteta’s squad for the first half of 2020/21 before a move to Fenerbahce last January.
Arteta denies Aubameyang rift
Arteta, meanwhile, has denied claims of a falling out with club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubayment.
Having been left out of the starting line-up at Everton on Monday, Arteta then turned to Eddie Nketiah off the bench.
Aubameyang later made a late cameo – but it was Everton who claimed a 2-1 win.
As a result, questions are being asked about their relationship. Arteta, though, denies there are any issues.
“I have a very good relationship with my players,” he said when asked about Aubameyang. “The first thing you have to understand is I have to make decisions to benefit the team.”
Some claims have even arisen that Arsenal could go on to sell Aubameyang, but again Arteta was defiant.
“Obviously we have never discussed something like this,” he insisted. “When players are under difficulty, what we have to give is support.”