Mesut Ozil encapsulates Arsenal’s problems
When I first heard of the Ozil to Arsenal rumours, I was excited like everyone else, although I did brush it off as hearsay. In today’s 24-hour news, and social media culture, 99% of rumours are completely made up anyhow. To my surprise, Arsenal pulled it off. Signing a huge name, for a huge fee, at a great age, from the biggest club in the world, definitely made a statement.
However, the massive fanfare that surrounded the Ozil transfer, only masked what was actually a bizarre transfer. I say this without hindsight… I was angry at the time with our transfer business that summer. Ozil was not a player we needed, and the club completely ignored all the of deficiencies within the squad. It’s not to say I wasn’t excited about Ozil, but the squad was still in a state, so all I could do was pray, and hope, that this big-name player could somehow give the squad a lift. In fairness, he did, but not so much on the pitch. It was more that, as a fanbase, we had greater optimism than we had known for years. Maybe this huge transfer was a sign of us acting like a big club again…as we now know, that was not to be the case.
Arsenal have been dreadful in the transfer market for as long as I care to remember, and the Ozil signing was the perfect example of this. The least of our problems in the summer of 2013 was an attacking midfielder. We already had the likes of Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky on our books, along with two promising youngsters: Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Serge Gnabry. Most importantly, we had Santi, who was only signed a year earlier. He was our best player, one of the best playmakers in the league, and I would argue, a better, and more effective player than Ozil. We desperately needed a CB, DM, and CF, amongst many other positions at the time. Another playmaker should have been at the bottom of our priorities. Despite that, we put all our financial eggs into a position that didn’t even need strengthening…something Arsenal love to do.
Then we have Ozil’s performances, or lack of! Overall, he hasn’t been the great hope we were hoping for, and has been plain awful for about 3 years now. This is where we see the poor decision making at Arsenal at its worst yet again. Firstly, the club doesn’t sell him when we had the chance. We then let him get down to the last 6 months of his contract. Finally, and despite not doing enough to even earn a new contract, the club offers one anyway, and with a massive pay rise, that makes Ozil one of highest earners in the league, and in Europe. Absolutely insane management!
Ozil has no say in his own transfer fee, and wages that Arsenal offered, but one can also look at the man himself, when talking about the club’s other problems. Everything surrounding Ozil, partly him, partly the club, perfectly encapsulates the chronic issues at Arsenal.
- Strengthening a position that didn’t need strengthening
- Huge waste of financial resources (Transfer fee, contracts)
- Missing out on a potentially huge fee by refusing to sell until it was too late, which could have been reinvested into the squad
- Poor attitude
- Doesn’t work hard enough
- Rewarded for not performing (constantly starting until Wenger left, and massive pay rise)
- Trying to shoehorn him into the team, thus affecting the balance, and potential of the team
- Constant niggling injuries, never seems fully fit
- Annoying publicity, and protectionism, that comes with a big name, especially when they’re not performing
- Bringing politics into football
- Beautiful to watch when in full flow, but rarely happens, and top teams don’t give you the luxury of time
- Constantly a big letdown in away games, and in games against the top teams
Before his fanbase lays into me, this is not an Ozil-bashing article. I am just using him as an example for the club’s overall failings. So many of our problems I can see at Arsenal, I can see when looking at Ozil.