The Germany international's switch to the Emirates has provoked plenty of debate, with most pundits stunned by los Blancos' decision to offload a prolific assist-maker who was as popular with the fans as he was with his team-mates.
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"I saw Ozil the first time in 2005 at a school project during a four-against-four match on a tennis court," he told Bild.
"I asked him: where do you play? He answered, 'At RWE [Rot-Weiss Essen].' I asked, 'Where do you live?' He said, 'Gelsenkirchen-Buer.' I said, 'You have to play for us!
"I don't belong to those people who say, 'I knew he was going to be a star.' "But you could clearly see that he was exceptionally talented.
"He had an outstanding technique, always kept his head up and even back then, he was able to perform under huge pressure.
"I think it [his Arsenal move] was an intelligent step at the right time. Arsenal wanted him by all means and he has a great coach there."
Arsenal handed over €50 million for Ozil, who had proven a great success in Madrid after joining from Werder Bremen in 2010.