Mesut Ozil says he followed his heart when pledging the next three-and-a-half years of his career to Arsenal by signing a new contract.
The Germany international had long been linked with a move away from north London, speculation going into overdrive after he entered the final year of his previous deal in July 2017.
Manchester United and Barcelona had been touted as potential destinations for Ozil, and reports of a reunion with Jose Mourinho – his coach at Real Madrid – increased around the turn of the year.
But the 29-year-old committed his future to the Gunners on Thursday, agreeing terms which are understood to tie him to the club until the end of the 2020-21 season.
Although media rumours often left Arsenal supporters fearing Ozil would follow a similar path to Alexis Sanchez, the former Werder Bremen player said he needed to give himself as much time as possible to think things over.
In a post on his official Instagram account, Ozil wrote: “Proud to announce: I signed dat thing.
“Three more years with @Arsenal! It’s been one of the most important decisions of my footballing career and that’s why I had to think hard and talk with everyone who’s important to me…
“Good things take time! In the end I let my heart decide. As I always said, I feel at home here and I’m highly motivated to achieve big things in the next few years. Once a Gunner, always a Gunner!”
Confirmation of Ozil’s extension completes a positive few days for Arsenal off the field, the club having also signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund for a club-record fee on Wednesday.