Tuesday 3 September 2013

Özil: a game-changer in all senses of the term

It was a summer that promised much, appeared to be turning into a farce but eventually ended with a record-smashing signing that will hopefully go down as the best in the history of Arsenal Football Club.

Mesut Özil, signed by Arsenal FC for £42.4m.

Yesterday the amount seemed perfectly natural for Arsenal to spend, probably because we have become obsessed with the £75m to £150m kitty supposedly at our disposal.

But the more I look at the words the more staggering it becomes.

All those doubts that Arsenal and Wenger were willing to settle for fourth place... dashed in a day.

All the doubts that they were genuinely willing to put their money where their mouths were... gone.

And all the doubts that we could attract genuine world class talent to the Club... cast asunder.

Why could it go down as the best in the history of the club?

Because if the Club capitalises on it, we could look back at it as the moment where we really entered the big time.

Every Arsenal player will be excited at the prospect of playing with Özil and will be inspired to train with him.

I think about Jack Wilshere in particular here. In essence, he is the English Mesut Özil but who did he have to look up to in our squad? Yes, Cazorla is hugely talented but even he is not in Özil’s class.

Wilshere (and Walcott, and Ramsey, and Gibbs, and Jenkinson...) will now think he needs to raise his game, his standards generally, to do justice to having someone like Özil in the squad.

Equally, other players, agents and managers around the Premier League and Europe will look at Arsenal in a different light.

They will now look at Arsenal enviously because we’ve got a 'Playstation' player that everyone would like to line up alongside, whose clients they would want to be associated with or who they would like to coach.

That includes Wenger who might just get a new lease of life from the move. It was telling how much emphasis was placed on the unity between Wenger, Gazidis and Kroenke in the confirmation announcement, leaving little doubt that Wenger will be offered a new contract.

That will given him the opportunity to deliver on his dream of creating a self-funded, European mega-power. We all knew that potential was there but the doubts were whether someone would take the leap towards realising the ambition.

Wenger needs to change how he does things – even his most staunch supporter must accept that regardless of financial restrictions he has made mistakes and appeared to accept the status quo too easily.

Those changes include the way he handles the transfer window, which has been bizarre.

On the one hand we are told we only want ‘super, super’ quality, and Özil definitely falls into that category. But on the other we have signed an unproven French teenager, an Italian keeper with a fairly sketchy track record and were chasing Demba Ba, who would probably himself admit is far from ‘super, super’ quality.

Even though we need extra strikers, I was pleased the Ba signing didn’t come off. When you set the bar as high as Özil, sniffing around Chelsea casts-offs again, particularly wanting one on loan, would have lowered the tone.

That lack of a striker is living proof that bringing Özil in is not the final part of the plan, in fact it feels more like the first.

But if we do seize the moment it could be a plan that is a lot bigger and a lot more exciting than any other the Club has come up with before.


  1. The question is, which striker should we be pursuing? I haven't been to come up with an answer after we f***d up the Higuain transfer, which was a no-brainer.

  2. Great blog - Thanks


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