By 90Min
July 04, 2019

Former Arsenal negotiator Dick Law has revealed the hidden tactics the Gunners had to use to sign Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid, a deal that simultaneously meant Gareth Bale left rivals Tottenham to move to the Spanish side.

The 2013 summer transfer window will live long in the memory for both sets of supporters in north London, as Arsenal broke their transfer record to sign Ozil while Bale became the most expensive footballer in the world when he left Spurs for €100m.

While on the surface the respective deals appeared disconnected, they were in fact intertwined, as Law revealed during an interview with Goal. Madrid needed to ship at least one player out to sign the Welshman, as Arsenal acted quietly under Daniel Levy's nose, aware that Spurs' chairman wouldn't sanction a deal if he knew the club's rivals were signing one of Madrid's stars.

“They paid an extraordinary amount of money for him [Bale] and they gave him an extraordinary contract, what that meant was they needed to sell somebody. So it’s the Bale story that leads us to Ozil," he said.

“We sat down with Jose Angel, who said that Ancelotti didn’t want to sell either of Benzema or Di Maria, but he would sell Ozil.

“We had finalised a deal with Madrid. Ivan was there and I was now in Munich with Ozil - and this was literally the morning of the Tottenham match when Ivan calls me. He said that he couldn’t get back to London for the match because he was finishing up the agreement and that one of us needed to be in the directors' box or else Daniel Levy was going to get very nervous."

Law then revealed the means he took to, quite literally, fly under Levy's radar and arrange the deal with Ozil - who was in Germany at the time having his medical.

“Jose Angel had told Ivan that Levy had called him and said the one last condition of the Bale deal was Madrid couldn’t sell any players to Arsenal," he added.

OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

“Ivan’s response was that Levy was bluffing because he’d already spent the Bale money. But he still said to me that we couldn’t take a chance and asked if I could get from Munich to London to be in the directors' box because Tottenham were starting to think something was going down.

“So, I got a flight at 11am, changed on the way and when I walked into the directors' box I saw Franco Baldini and Levy and they asked what I was doing. I said it was the derby, I wasn’t going to miss it.”

After watching Arsenal win the match 1-0, Law then claimed he flew straight back to Munich only to catch wind of Manchester United's new-found interest. Knowing he couldn't let Ozil discover this, he confessed to the method he used.

GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

"So Ivan called me and asked me to man-mark Ozil’s father and business advisor in Munich. I had to sit from 10am to 10pm in the bar at the Four Seasons taking calls from the contract team with questions about this clause and that clause. They eventually drafted everything and sent it over for Ozil to sign."


The rest, as they say, is history.

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