AN INSIGHT INTO TWO PLAYERS, THEIR TIME TOGETHER AT OUR CLUB, THEIR ABSURD CONTRACTS AND HOW THEIR CAREERS HAVE DIFFERED SINCE THE BREAKUP OF THEIR SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIP. by Ken1945
My objective and what I hope to achieve in this article, is to use facts in order to point out how any one decision can have repercussions and reactions from fans and for clubs, both before and after they are taken.
I will also give a few of my own personal opinions based on how I interpret these facts and invite those who read it to give theirs…it is a long read, so please be patient, as facts need to be correct and opinions really do matter.
Surprise, surprise, I am not criticising either player, or any fans, but most certainly both clubs involved and a certain Ivan Gazidis in particular!!!
We have had a deluge of stories about Mesut Ozil and his situation at our club, but recently the question was asked about Alexis Sanchez with regards to a “mercenary comparison.”
It intrigued me and got me thinking about how the two players, not only viewed each other, but how moving away from our club, for whatever the reason, is nearly always the wrong move, and why players who have stayed loyal to the club, such as Tony Adams, Pat Rice, Dennis Bergkamp, Bob Wilson etc have ended up as names that all Gooners know and respect (Please note: I am definitely not saying that either of the two in this article deserve such accolades of course!!).
So, let us start by looking at what Sanchez said about Ozil and how he felt he benefited from him.
In an interview dated December 2016 (Source: The Arsenal’s YouTube channel) he was recorded as saying that he felt very comfortable playing with his team mate and also urged him not to worry about scoring – adding “He has great vision and there’s no need to praise his great ball control, because everyone knows about it. Ozil is a quality player he really enjoys playing football.”
Sanchez then went on to say how he felt about our club as follows “I definitely feel like an important player and my team mates let me know every day… I believe we have the players and the quality to win many things. I feel really happy and comfortable at the club. I want to give the fans a new title.” ….
So from my perspective at the time, everything looked rosy in the garden with regards to Sanchez, Ozil and the future.
Sure enough the FA cup was delivered in spectacular fashion, as we defeated Chelsea (the champions) in a masterful display of team work that they had no answer too, with goals from Sanchez and Ramsey (Probably Arsene’s last ever masterclass and that was when he should have resigned… I digress!!)
Just seven months later, after this glowing resume, on the 22nd January 2018, Sanchez signed for Manchester United, after refusing to sign a new contract and with only six months left on his present contract, with a reported salary breakdown as follows from Utd: £391,000 a week – £75,000 for every game he played – An annual £1.1 million signing on fee – this deal was over four and a half years, up to the end of the 2021/2022 season.
However, he ended up playing just 45 games for them, scoring just five goals.
Such was his (supposed?) respect for our club, he actually said this, when talking about his first day of training: “I ended up signing without much information about what was happening (I bet you knew how much you was going to earn though Alexis!!!!) and I asked my representative “Can’t the contract be terminated to return to Arsenal?!!?!” (Source: Talksport).
Now my suspicious mind asks me why, if he left for trophies, why would he want to return to the club he thought he wouldn’t win any with? That was the reason he gave I do believe.
It was also revealed that Sanchez had turned down a £400,000 a week move to China, while accepting the deal above – ensuring that this player, at least would decide where he wanted to go and not the club or the fans!! (Source: Sun Dec 17th).
MEANWHILE and before Sanchez left, Arsene Wenger was admitting that he might be forced to sell both Sanchez and Ozil, as there was no sign of a breakthrough in the discussions regarding new contracts for both players.
He said “both players look happy here and overall I hope the situation can be turned around. At the moment, we are not close enough to announcing anything.”
But the wonderful and ever truthful Ivan Gazidis told our AGM that money was no object with regards to Sanchez and Ozil’s contract (Source The Sun 24th Oct 2016).
So, from my point of view, both players were happy at the club, the money was there to keep them and, once again, everything was rosy in the garden!!!
So, what was happening with regards to Mesut Ozil during the time that I detailed out with Sanchez at the Arsenal? It was reported by The Guardian on the 12th July 2017 as follows:
It was revealed that Ozil’s preference would be to definitely sign a new contract at The Arsenal, saying “It is such a great club and I have always said that I feel very good at Arsenal.”
This statement was, of course, long before his absurd contract was offered and, meanwhile, Ozil also commented on Sanchez, the player and, also, his contract situation, when asked, by saying: “It would hit the team quite hard if he left, because he’s a player who always delivers. It would be a setback to winning the title but, in the end, it is the players decision. I hope Alexis stays, but I do not know what the status is to be honest. I value him a lot as a player and he is very well suited to the game Arsenal play. From a personal view, I would really appreciate if he stays. But it’s the players decision after all and there’s not much more I can comment on that.”
On January 31st, just nine days after Sanchez refused to sign a new contract and left for one of our PL rivals for a reported £500,000 a week pay deal, Ozil also accepted a massive reported deal worth £350,000 a week to stay at our club – the details of any clauses in Ozil’s contract were not known, whereas part of the reported Sanchez deal included that £75,000 a game…it has since been reported that Ozil has a similar clause for each game played, but details are sketchy to say the least.
Here are some of the reactions from the fans just before the announcement of Ozil’s signature as printed in the Sun, with the headlines that read: “It’s a wet afternoon in north London, so let us brighten up your Sunday.”…convincing some Arsenal fans that Ozil had signed a new deal:
AFCinNYC: For the love of God, sign your contract.
Quicksilver: Brighten up our life with an Ozil contract extension news.
Sals: Oh my God contract announcement soon.
CechMate: Ozil extension news is coming!!!!
Mike Needham: You’d better be telling us Mesut Ozil1088 has signed a new contract!!!!!!!
Geyzen: This thread is really evil if you don’t announce MO contract extension.
Ryan: Oh my God! OK, it’s really happening!
NB. These are just a sprinkling of the many positive reactions when the news was breaking!!
I couldn’t find any negatives from the source I was using – I’m sure there are some.
The reactions of our fans when Sanchez left for Utd?
NicoFC: D****ead go watch Marley and Me (I have no idea!! But he wasn’t happy!!)
Light Yagami: Good morning, except AlexiSanchez and his dogs.
NB. These are just a sprinkling of the many negative reactions!!
There were also some posts wishing him well, but they were in the minority overall.
The reactions of our fans when Sanchez said he regretted leaving The Arsenal?
Playboy clarti: Realized there was no one close to Ozil’s level at United, hence the regret.
Sxlibol: He was so good at Arsenal… what could have been man, but he had to ruin his career.
GunnerGirlTV: …So many good players left Arsenal for money or titles and then realised how those teams just used them and tossed them.
Raf: …I honestly couldn’t care less he left us. His legs had started to go. Never the same player since his City move failed. Plus, we got one of the best goal scorers to replace him.
Frenchy: …but that’s his mistake and he’s another one that chose money over loyalty.
NB. These are just a sprinkling of the many negative reactions!!
There was not one that sympathised with him and I did look!!
So, it seems that there were fans who were pleased to see Mesut Ozil sign his new contract, despite the grotesque salary awarded to him by Gazidis – there were fans who were less than pleased when Alexis Sanchez signed for Utd, only six months after he said how happy he was at our club and with an even more grotesque salary – there were fans who were delighted that he had failed in such a spectacular fashion at Utd and were quoting “money over loyalty” in their Instagram replies (Source: www.newsbreak.com).
In summary fellow Gooners, I have not addressed the current situation regarding Mesut Ozil, as I think that has been discussed infinitum – neither have I discussed my personal views on either players worth, both to our club and their salaries – nor am I saying one player is/was better than the other, although it must be obvious that they both had a wonderful partnership while playing for The Arsenal in my opinion – neither have I made this a plus or minus article regarding the merits or otherwise of either player – neither have I commented on whether Ozil is right or wrong to insist he will see his legal contract through to the end.
I’ve presented the facts, as they were reported (with the sources for anyone who wishes to check their legality) at the time and how the timeline evolved up and until the 31st January 2018 when Mesut Ozil signed his contract extension, the 5th August 2020 when Sanchez left Utd and relevant points in between those dates. We often forget exactly what did happen at certain times and what the reactions were to those incidents, so please remember I am doing this for clarity of the situation at the given timeline.
I have always said how the fan base were imploring the club to sign Mesut Ozil “at any cost”, in order to prove we were a big club, especially after Sanchez left us. It seems some fans have forgotten that scenario. It has happened again with Aubameyang and I wonder if memories will become “foggy” if things don’t turn out as we all hope they do, over the next three years
I have quite simply looked at a question that was asked regarding which of the two players would be described as a mercenary and taken it further with regards to the relevance during their respective time at The Arsenal, in order that it includes when they played together, what they said about our club and their reactions after those statements of intent, how they viewed each other and how one player finally left and the other stayed.
We are all aware of the differences of opinions regarding Mesut Ozil today and where he and Sanchez are in regards to their own situation – one is playing and one is not… BUT that is not what I am writing about, so please just take that into consideration and ask yourselves these questions – On the evidence given above, who would you say treated the club with contempt and acted in a mercenary way? – Has either player actually benefitted from the actions they took, apart from the obvious monetary rewards, as both men were fortunate enough to be given salaries that make a mockery of both clubs that offered it? (If you want to include it, then feel free of course.) Would things had been different if Gazidis had followed through his boast that money was no object, remembering that he had, reportedly, offered Aaron Ramsey the equivalent of Mesut Ozil’s contract and actually tied Alexis Sanchez down for the same contract terms as Mesut Ozil?
I would actually suggest that Ivan Gazidis is probably the biggest mercenary this club has ever seen…and I include Stanley Kroenke in that evaluation!!!
Definition of a mercenary as per The Collins Concise Dictionary?
“Any person who works solely for pay – Influenced by greed or desire for gain” – Shows no loyalty where money is concerned (this one is my personal definition, so ignore it if you wish!)
Thanks for reading the article and persevering with it – if you did!!!