With Oguzhan Ozyakup being linked with a return to Arsenal this summer, we take a look at why he left in the first place.
Ozyakup is currently being linked with a £13.3m move to Roma, or return to Arsenal, where he played from 2008 – 2012.
The midfielder, who was a teenager at the time, only ever made two League Cup appearances for the Gunners’ first team, which totaled just 27 minutes.
However, between 2010/11 and 2011/12, Ozyakup made 34 appearances in the Reserve League, scoring five and assisting 11. Therefore, he was progressing well and Arsene Wenger’s next move would have probably been to integrate him further into the first team.
He never got the chance, though, as Ozyakup signed for Turkish side Besiktas in 2012 for €500,000, where he’s made a total of 182 appearances, scoring 27 and assisting 42. He’s also gone on to win the Turkish league twice.
He’s progressed well… exactly how Wenger predicted.
“I’m happy that he came here,” Wenger told Arsenal’s website three years ago.
“He was educated by us and we saw that he had top quality and technically he is very good.
“Physically he can run all day, he has very good stamina and a good final pass.
“I always thought he could make a career but at our club he had big competition in front of him and that is why we let him go.
“It is good to see he has made it to the top level and is now an important player in Turkey.”
So, if Arsenal are truly interested in Ozyakup again and the player himself is open to a move back to north London, what happened back in 2012 to make him leave in the first place?
The short answer is: Robin van Persie.
The striker left Arsenal for Manchester United the same year and advised the youngster that he should leave the Gunners for regular minutes.
“Arsenal really treated me well,” Ozyakup said when he left.
“Van Persie helped me a lot when I first joined from The Netherlands. He would invite me to his family home for meals.
“Van Persie was a great motivator, I promised him I’d score in my first game but unfortunately I couldn’t. However, he told me after the game I would have scored if given another 20 minutes and praised my performance.
“Leaving Arsenal was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, it was really upsetting. However, Beşiktaş made me an offer which was hard to refuse, one of the biggest clubs in Turkey was promising me first team football.
“I consulted Van Persie and he agreed that it was in my best interests to make the move.”
Five years later and the two players’ ‘friendship’ is in tatters after RvP, classy as ever, decided to celebrate like a moron in front of his former teammate after scoring for Fenerbahce against Besiktas back in February.
Afterwards, Ozyakup was less than impressed.
“I have a lot to say about the incidents on the field. But I won’t say them.
“Just one thing – I was very good friends with a certain player on the field.
“That changed today. Sometimes you see the real face of a footballer on the field.”
Van Persie’s got a funny habit of doing that, eh?