Arsenal were given the chance to offload Mesut Ozil to Bayern Munich this summer, but Arsene Wenger refused to entertain offers, reports El Confidencial.
The German playmaker has split opinion since arriving at the Emirates Stadium in 2013, signing from Real Madrid for a club record £42.4 million. At times, Ozil has shown exceptional quality, at others, he has failed to impress at all.
Despite his obvious struggles last season, Pep Guardiola was apparently very keen to bring Ozil to the Allianz Arena. The former Barcelona manager had tried and failed to sign Ozil from Werder Bremen in 2010 and was keen to make amends.
However, Wenger rejected Bayern Munich's tentative attempt to lure Ozil away from north London, insisting he remains a part of Arsenal's long term plan. The 25-year-old has subsequently struggled to find his best form this season, culminating in an almost disastrous display against Chelsea on Sunday.
The report suggests that Wenger's reluctance to sell Ozil in the summer prevented Cesc Fabregas from re-joining the Gunners from Barcelona. The former Arsenal captain instead joined rivals Chelsea and put in a man of the match display as his new side ran out 2-0 winners.
Whereas Ozil cost Arsenal over £42 million, Fabregas cost Jose Mourinho comparably tiny £27 million. Fabregas has already garnered seven assists while Ozil has just one.
Had Arsenal cashed in on Ozil, likely taking a significant loss from the £42 million they paid, yet still more than what Fabregas would have cost, it could have been a brilliant deal all round for Wenger.
Not only would Arsenal rid themselves of a high earning, out-of-sorts player, they would also get an in-form star in return. Fabregas would have relished the chance to finish his business for the Gunners and could have filled the vacancy for a natural leader.
As well as that, it would have stopped Chelsea getting their hands on a world-class player, weakening a rival while strengthening their own squad.
Deal done early
Wenger himself suggested that Fabregas had already agreed to join Chelsea as early as January meaning a simple Ozil-out, Fabregas-in deal was not on the cards when Bayern Munich came calling.
He told reporters: "I personally believe that deal was done a long time ago, in early 2014 and that all the speculation after that was just made up."