By Coral Barry
Pep Guardiola intervened to stop Mesut Ozil joining Barcelona in the summer of 2010, it has been revealed.
The then Barca manager had the chance to sanction a big-money bid for the German after his outstanding displays at the 2010 World Cup.
Ozil was just 21 at the time and had already established himself at Werder Bremen but put himself firmly on the radar of Europe’s elite clubs as he emerged as the poster boy of a youthful and more adventurous Germany team.
According to Marca, Real had lodged a bid, before Guardiola was asked by Barcelona chiefs whether his club should match the offer.
The Spaniard vetoed the move because he was concerned that the arrival of Ozil would disrupt the progress of emerging Academy star Thiago Alcantara, then aged 18, into the first team.
Ozil went on to join Real and was a huge success under Jose Mourinho before being sold to Arsenal in 2013 for £40million.
Thiago broke into the Barcelona team in 2010/11, making 16 appearances in all competitions, but he could not force his way past the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets and eventually followed Guardiola to Bayern Munich three years ago.
Now aged, Ozil has emerged as Arsenal’s outstanding player in his third season at Emirates Stadium as he spearheads the club’s bid for their first league title in 12 years.
The playmaker has supplied 17 assists in the league this season, just three short of Thierry Henry’s record in a single season of 20.
In other Arsenal news, defender Gabriel has been ruled out of their Champions League showdown against Barcelona on Tuesday night.