Mesut Ozil has become the latest Real Madrid player to say that he intends to stay at the Spanish club, in the face of interest from Arsenal. Karim Benzema and Angel di María, who have been tracked by Arsène Wenger, have already gone on record to state that their loyalties remain at the Bernabéu. And now Ozil, who has also been linked with Manchester United, has ruled out leaving the club.
Ozil's position in the Madrid lineup has been in question, particularly as the club have prepared to break the world transfer record for Tottenham's Gareth Bale. But Ozil has started in Real's opening La Liga matches against Real Betis and Granada.
He said: "I have a contract with Real Madrid and I am staying here. I want to be successful. A lot has been written in the media about other teams but I have the coach's confidence and I feel very good. Also, I have a contract until 2016. I have a very good understanding with all my team-mates and it is a pleasure and an honour to play for Real Madrid."
Wenger is facing an increasingly fraught final five days of the transfer window, having so far added only the young French striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre. He has been under pressure to spend ever since the chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, said in early June that the club had the "financial firepower" to compete for the biggest names on the market.
Arsenal remain in talks with their former midfielder Mathieu Flamini over a return to the club as a free agent. But Theo Walcott has denied that Arsenal have fallen behind their rivals Tottenham, whom they meet in the derby at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
He said: "Not at all. I feel we're very strong. Everyone makes out our squad is very weak and there are not many of us but we showed in the last few games that we can bounce back from a bad result, proving a lot of people wrong.
"Every club is different and Tottenham invested their money very well. For us players we just want to do a job on Sunday, we don't care if they have brought in £30m stars. They have some very good players and a very good manager but we need to make sure we focus on ourselves. The way we're playing at the moment we believe we can beat anyone.
"Tottenham is a massive game and I always enjoy these derbies. The fans make it very special. It's very early in the season considering there is an England game coming up but us players love it and it's a fixture I always look at straight away."