The signing of Mesut Ozil by Arsenal is undoubtably a coup. The German international was a creative hub for a Real Madrid team already brimming with talent and flair, and with the highest number of assists in any of the ‘big leagues’ last year, the Gunners have got themselves one of the most inventive and influential attacking midfielders in Europe. At the 2009 under 21 European championship final Ozil single handedly destroyed a bouyant England team and drove the German side to a 4-0 victory. From there he made the step up to the national first team, and had an impressive 2010 world cup, and this is when European football really started to sit up and take note. A move from Werder Breman to Real Madrid followed and at every step in the Turkish-Germans career so far he has proved he is more than worthy, and has now established himself in World Football. But, 40 plus million for an established world class talent isn’t really an Arsene Wenger typical signing, so why has Ozil ended up at the Emirates? Whispers from Spain suggested Ozil’s departure from Madrid wasn’t entirely amicable. Suggestions a portion of the money outlayed on Gareth Bale needed to be recouped and Ozil was far more marketable as a potentioanl sale than Di Maria or Coentrao, where suitable offers never materialised. Reluctantly ushered to the door by Ancelotti to Arsene’s open arms may have been the only way to guarantee first team football for the playmaker. And in a world cup year that guarantee cannot be understated.
So Mesut’s Arsenal adventure begins, and the consensus of opinion implies he will no doubt improve the Gunners team, but was he really necessary? In terms of forward thinking midfielders, Arsenal already possess a glut of talent. Cazorla, Arteta, Wiltshire, Podolski and Walcott are some the Premier Leagues leading lights, and although you could argue Ozil is a better player than any of those, its not really a position that Wenger needed to reinforce. With only three recognised centre backs defensive cover needed to be bussed in. Meretsaker and Koscielny have formed a relatively solid partnership in recent months but club captain Vermaelen has been patchy in form and with the likes of Demichelis and Sakho moving clubs this summer, Arsenal fans may feel justifiably frustrated this hasn’t been addressed. Also desperately light up front with only, the much improved, Giroud and, the disappointingly unimproved, Bendtner, a striker would have been a more pragmatic signing. Suarez was linked with the north London club but cheeky one up man ship saw the deal collapse before it began. Also having missed out on Higuain earlier in the window, the extra outlay required to seal the Argentinians signature would have still left them with ample change in comparison to the cost of the Ozil deal. All missed opportunities. And this is why the signing of the playmaker has a hint of desperation surrounding it. Pressure from the fans and the media in general intensified after an unexpected home defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season. The signing of Flamini, albeit a needed addition of fight to the midfield, did little to quell the desire of supporters. The club had been vocal in insisting finance was there to bring in world class players and fans now wanted this money to be spent. In steps Ozil and everyone rejoices.
But questions still remain. Can Arsenal keep enough clean sheets to seriously compete for the title? They now have the player to create enough chances, can Giroud alone convert enough of them? As a neutral it will be a joy to see Ozil in the Premier league. Whether he is enough to lift the Gunners above the forth place battle remains to be seen. In Arsene we trust?