Report: Lionel Messi Blocked Barcelona Deadline Day Move for Mesut Ozil
Lionel Messi may just be the most powerful man at Barcelona, when it comes to player recruitment.
According to a report in Spain, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner intervened to prevent a summer transfer for Arsenal playmaker Mesut Özil.
The German international is entering the last year of his contract at the Emirates and had been linked with a summer switch to Barcelona. However, the 28-year-old opportunity of a move to Catalonia was scuppered by Messi, according to a report by rumours site Don Balon.
The report rather sensationally also claims that Real Sociedad star Iñigo Martínez also had a move to the Camp Nou vetoed by Barcelona's talisman because of the threat that would pose to close friend Javier Mascherano in the starting lineup.
Özil was one of three first team stars at Arsenal who were uncertain about their futures heading into deadline day of the summer transfer window.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain secured a £35m move to Liverpool, while Alexis Sánchez looked set to follow suit in a move up north, after Manchester City lodged a late £55m plus add-ons offer for the Chilean.
However, Arsenal were unable to convince AS Monaco winger and potential Sanchez replacement Thomas Lemar of a Premier League switch, despite a £92m transfer offer being accepted by the club.
In spite of the rumours about Messi's power, Barcelona did sign three players this summer, with Benfica's Nélson Semedo the first to join Barcelona over the summer in a £27m.
Paulinho and Ousmane Dembélé also moved to Catalonia for a combined £130m, as Barcelona look to close the gap between themselves and Real Madrid.