By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Arsenal have clinched one of the most stunning deadline-day deals in history by signing Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for £40 million.
But Goal can reveal how the Gunners kept the move for the brilliant German playmaker shrouded in such secrecy that he visited the club's London Colney training headquarters last week to undergo the first phase of his medical and pose for official media photographs - all in a bid not to alert rivals Tottenham to his potential arrival at the Emirates Stadium.
Frustrated by Spurs dragging their feet in the final stages of negotiations for Gareth Bale, Madrid colluded in a covert operation with Arsenal that would end with Ozil moving to London almost immediately after he was replaced at the Santiago Bernabeu.
In addition to allowing Ozil to grow acquainted with his new Arsenal surroundings, it is understood that Blancos chiefs had reached an agreement with their north London counterparts that the German would not play for the Spanish giants in their league match against Athletic on Sunday, which they won 3-1.
|THE VIEW FROM GERMANY
For the majority of people in Germany, Mesut Ozil's move to Arsenal has come as a huge surprise. Arsenal are a well-respected club in Germany but are no longer considered in the same class as Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Barcelona.
However, with the World Cup coming up next summer, it is essential that Ozil is playing first team football on a regular basis as he is a fundamental part of the national team. Certainly his arrival will be a massive signing for the Gunners – this is a game-changing move from Arsene Wenger.
- Hassan Talib Haji | Goal Germany
But the Spaniards were disappointed at what they regarded as Tottenham unnecessarily stalling the final stages of negotiations for Bale.
It is understood that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy was simply ignoring the hourly calls that he received from the Welshman's agents, Jonathan Barnett and David Manasseh, at the end of last week to push the button on the deal.
The knock-on effect was that Arsenal would be weakened by being unable to register Ozil, or any other Madrid big-hitter, in time for the north London derby on Sunday, which they went on to win 1-0.
The Gunners had turned their attention to Los Blancos' battery of elite attackers after failing to land a number of primary targets – including Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain and Marouane Fellaini - and learning in early August that Bale had agreed in principle his move to Spain.
Arsene Wenger responded to the Gunners' disastrous 3-1 opening-day Premier League defeat to Aston Villa by santioning moves for Ozil and Angel Di Maria and also made an enquiry for Karim Benzema, although the latter was always regarded by Arsenal as an unlikely signing due to the domino of transfers that needed to fall.
Real indicated that both Ozil and Di Maria were available for sale as they attempted to trim costs and free up space in their team for Bale.
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Concerned about being frozen out of the Madrid team in the season leading up to World Cup 2014 and attracted to the idea of being the marquee player at Arsenal, the Germany star was convinced in discussions with Wenger about making the move to London.
Under the radar of the world's media and bitter rivals Tottenham, talks were so advanced with Madrid at the end of last week that Ozil flew to London to visit Arsenal's London Colney training ground and undergo the primary tests of a two-tier medical. He also posed in a Gunners shirt for a series of pictures with the club's official photographer.
Goal exclusively revealed on Sunday that Arsenal were in advanced discussions with the Spanish giants to sign Ozil for £40m on the day that he played no part in the Primera Division team's lunchtime league win over Athletic.
After a fee which would nearly triple their transfer record had been agreed with Madrid on Sunday night, the Gunners began formally negotiating personal terms with the playmaker's representatives.
The plan had been for Ozil to fly back to London on Monday and undergo the second stage of his medical but this was complicated by the requirement of his presence in Munich to film a television commercial with the Germany national team ahead of their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Given the 24-year-old's presence at London Colney last week, Arsenal were content for him to complete his medical tests under the eye of the Bayern Munich and Germany team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt.
The terms of a five-year contract worth £130,000-a-week, which will comfortably make Ozil Arsenal's highest earner, were agreed on Monday afternoon, leaving only the formalities of the deal to be completed before he was announced as the marquee signing for which the supporters had been waiting all summer.
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