Leverkusen pulled plug on €5.5m Ozil, reveals Holzhauser

The Germany international was set to sign for the Werkself five years ago but the move was never completed as he was considered too expensive at the time
Bayer Leverkusen chief Wolfgang Holzhauser has revealed that the Bundesliga club were close to signing Mesut Ozil in 2008 - but decided he was not worth the €5.5 million fee demanded by Schalke at the time.

The attacking midfielder was keen to leave Gelsenkirchen due to a dispute with the club's management and seemed set on securing a switch to the BayerArena.

However, Holzhauser eventually pulled the plug on the transfer as he felt signing Ozil was too much of a gamble, allowing the current Arsenal star to join Werder Bremen.

"I said back then: 'Guys, €5.5 million for an 18-year-old who's already having a fight with his coach and demands millions? Let's wait for a bit'," Holzhauser admitted to Bild.

Meanwhile, sporting director Rudi Voller has insisted that he does not have any regrets that Leverkusen missed out on Ozil, despite the Germany international's rise to prominence in Europe over recent seasons with Real Madrid.

"I sat in on negotiations, but I don't have any regrets and don't feel annoyed about the way things went," Voller added.

"We simply cannot sign all the players who interest us. Ozil was too expensive from my point of view."

Ozil, now 24, joined Arsenal from Madrid for a €50m fee this summer.