A beloved family member of mine is a Tottenham fan, that is nothing unusual in North London families where club loyalties are divided and of course, we argue about our teams on a regular basis, again, an absolutely normal occurrence.
The reason for telling you that is to show you some background on how conversations between Arsenal and Tottenham fans have changed down the years, especially over Mesut Ozil.
When we first signed the German playmaker the reaction from our bitter local rivals was one of “oh shit” they were scared, literally scared, they saw the signing of Ozil has a huge leap forward for us and one that would keep us dominant over them for years to come.
And Ozil started off beautifully and was instrumental in maintaining our superiority but that has significantly changed.
It is no longer” oh shit” but more “please pick Ozil”
And therein lies the problem.
There was a time that seeing Ozil’s name on the team sheet would frighten the life out of our opponents, nowadays they are literally gutted when he is not selected.
He no longer carries that aura about him, he is seen as somewhat of a liability and no longer a player to be feared.
I am not writing this as a critique of Ozil, I am simply pointing out that he is no longer seen as a player to worry about, not in the same way we would look at Kane being on the Tottenham team sheet or Hazard being picked for Chelsea or Aguero for Man City, Salah for Liverpool and so on.
The fact that we, as Arsenal fans, are bitterly divided over Ozil shows you how far he has fallen, there was once a time when he was universally recognised as a world-class player, we cannot even agree on that anymore nevermind anyone else.
The bottom line is Ozil is no longer viewed as a player to be feared but as just another player and when that happens your value to the club must be questioned.
We simply do not have that “one” player that frightens the opposition, we did have, but not anymore.