Mesut Ozil enjoys low-key welcome at Arsenal far removed from life with Real Madrid

Arsenal's record £42m signing trained with the team for the first time yesterday

The contrast with Real Madrid could not have been clearer.

Mesut Ozil, the £42m club-record signing, was sat next to Arsène Wenger in the press room at Arsenal's London Colney training ground. There were no more than 80 people in the room, mainly journalists and club officials. The only red carpet was the old one on the floor. And this was Arsenal at their most ostentatious and extravagant, at their first player unveiling since Sol Campbell 12 years ago.

At Real Madrid they do things differently. The Santiago Bernabeu is opened and filled with fans. Stages and speakers are assembled, and their own special carpet laid down. They had one 10 days ago for Gareth Bale. In the summer of 2009 they had three.

Those unveilings are in the nature of Real Madrid, necessary displays of their glamour, their cachet and their pace of change. That last arrival, of Bale, led to Ozil's departure, even though some of the 30,000 fans greeting the Welshman sang to Real president Florentino Perez, "Don't sell Ozil". Perez responded with a finger to his lips. It might not always be obvious at Arsenal, but compared to Real Madrid, this is a far friendlier, calmer, gentler place.

"I have only heard positive things and know myself how this club is," said Ozil, through an interpreter. "It is a very familiar [welcoming] environment. The treatment here is very respectful. Everybody is very nice. It's very important for me to feel good here. This is where I will work day in, day out. This is what [fellow Germans Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski] told me. And they are right."

Ozil, like so many before him at Madrid, lasted a few years before the hierarchy grew bored and wanted new players. Madrid bought Bale and Isco, and Ozil was no longer first choice. So he decided to sign for someone where he would be, where he would be popular and wanted again, as Wenger told him in that now-famous phone call the weekend before last.

"That was the most important for us – what the manager thinks about me and what his plans are with me," explained Ozil. "I decided to come to Arsenal because I have the trust in this familiar environment here, this was the most important thing for us. He told me what he thinks about me and this was the reason I chose Arsenal."

Having contributed so much to Real – helping to win one cup and one league title in three seasons under Jose Mourinho – Ozil was not too pleased to be the subject of an apparent whispering campaign from Spain about his private life distracting him.

"I don't want to say anything bad about Madrid because I had three wonderful years there," Ozil said. "That's why I don't want to talk a lot about it. People who know me know how professional I am and in the past three years, you can see how many games I played – 159. If you're not professional in your life then I don't think you can play that many games. People know how professional I am and this is what counts. You can see by the reaction of the fans and the players that they didn't understand the move. But this is football."

It was an impressive body of work in Spain, and Ozil is confident he will be just as successful in England. "I played in the Bundesliga and in La Liga and I have always proved myself, and I know I will prove myself here as well."

Wenger was certainly confident about Ozil's integration on the pitch, saying that he had attributes – "movement, technical ability and creativity" – perfectly attuned to Arsenal's game. When he makes his debut at Sunderland tomorrow he will play behind the striker, with no conflict expected with Jack Wilshere, who Wenger expects to use in deeper positions. "Jack likes to come deep to take the ball and make a difference, and then give and go again. Ozil is higher up on the field."

Arsenal's midfield, for too long, has had more talent than conviction but Wenger is sure that Ozil will impose himself on games and, in time, become a "dominant player. He has the personality to express his game, which is the most important. He is a creative player, and that's what we want – to express his talent and develop it."

Both Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie grew into world-class players at Arsenal, although of course neither of them is still there now. But Ozil spoke warmly about how players improve at Arsenal and hoped that he could develop in the same way. "I know that the step here is the right one for me because many young players came here and got better and got to become the best players in the world," Ozil said. "This is why I want to go my way here. I want to continue to improve myself."

Wenger, whose team has lacked elite quality since Van Persie was sold, wants the same thing. "Ozil is at a good age, he is 25 in October," he said. "He is already a great player. There's room now between 25 and 30 for him to become a dominant player and to make a step up from that. You have to find the right club at the right moment."

Ozil is confident that he has. "I'm at Arsenal now, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world. I think I will find my way here."

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker