|Denied: Demba Ba (right) was all set to move across London to join Arsenal on a loan deal|
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho pulled the plug on Demba Ba's proposed switch to Arsenal because he fears the £42.5million capture of Mesut Ozil has made them genuine title contenders.
Arsene Wenger was left fuming on transfer deadline night after Chelsea made a late U-turn on Ba’s proposed move across London.
The Arsenal manager thought a deal to sign the Senegal striker on a season-long loan deal was in place on Monday night after hours of negotiations between the clubs.
But Mourinho admitted the Blues blocked the Ba deal as they did not want to strengthen a direct rival, and the eleventh hour decision meant Wenger had no time to pursue any other options.
He said: 'Ozil is unique. There is no copy of him – not even a bad one. He is the best number 10 in the world. He makes things very easy for me and for his team-mates with his football vision and the decisions he makes.
'Everyone loves him and sees a bit of Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane in him.
'We didn’t accept Arsenal’s offer for Demba Ba because the signing of Ozil makes them title contenders.'
It is understood Ba’s move across London was so far advanced that Arsenal had arranged the former Newcastle forward’s medical.
Wenger was desperate to sign a centre-forward on Monday, knowing Olivier Giroud is currently his only fit recognised striker.
And Chelsea’s decision to end the deal meant Arsenal had no time to pursue alternatives, leaving Wenger worryingly short of attacking options.
Should Giroud pick up an injury, Wenger is likely to turn to Walcott to fill the role of lone centre-forward.
If fit, Lukas Podolski would also be a contender to replace Giroud, but is now feared the 28-year-old could miss the rest of the year.
It was hoped Podolski would make a return from a hamstring tear in November but Dr Hans-Muller Wohlfahrt, who conducted Mesut Ozil’s medical ahead of his £43million move to Arsenal on Monday, says he could miss three months after conducting his own examination.
Podolski told German daily Bild: ‘Unfortunately I’ll be out a long while, around three months.’
Meanwhile, striker Nicklas Bendtner, denied a transfer window move because of Arsenal’s failure to buy a forward, last night issued a statement pledging his commitment to the club.
The Dane said: ‘The truth is I just want to play football which is when I’m happiest and Arsenal is a fantastic environment for any professional to apply their trade.
‘I want to assure all Arsenal fans that I will give everything I have to contribute to what I believe will be a successful season for the club.’