Mesut Ozil (Facebook Page)
If I were to quell my enthusiasm and happiness regarding the transfer of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid to Arsenal, I would be a Gooner without a soul. Simply put, this signing had me leaping out of my bed Monday morning, glued to my computer monitoring it’s every development while at the same time rabidly texting my Gunner minded friends the potential possibilities, and passes, this playmaker brings to the team. Once his move was official, and Arsenal’s website issued a statement, a loud raucous cheer, possibly laden with joyful expletives, followed. Ozil, the dynamic midfielder who is an integral part of the German national team and, was for, Madrid, is an enormous talent that brings two things to Arsenal in one fell swoop: exceptional skill and transfer credibility.
Ozil, who is in the prime age of his career at 24 years old, joins Arsenal after three years in the Spanish capital, two of which saw him dawn the number 10 jersey. In 155 appearances with Los Blancos, he hoisted a Spanish Super Cup (2012), La Liga (2011-12), the Copa del Rey (2011), and created a telepathic relationship with one of soccer’s biggest stars, Cristiano Ronaldo. For those who watched Real’s games, heck even the high lights, you saw the diminutive German assume the role of sole proprietor for the Portuguese star while also leading the creative forefront for the team. While Ozil will not have a player of that same caliber banging in his passes at Arsenal, his style of play is almost written for Arsenal.
Prior to his move to Spain, Ozil played in the Bundesliga sides, Schalke and Werder Bremen. After rising through the vibrant youth academy system that exists in Germany, Ozil became a rising star in the Bundesliga and eventually earned a spot on the country’s 2010 World Cup squad. After starting every game in South Africa that summer, Ozil immediately became a recognizable star. I myself was fascinated with his play: he had a lethal nimbleness about him. While not physically built as many Germany players before him, Ozil had unparallel patience and smoothness with the ball at his feet. He was able to facilitate the attack magnificently and seemingly know exactly how play will develop next. And when he wasn’t looking or delivering the dissecting pass, Ozil was finding the perfect swatch of space needed to make turn the game in favor for the team. He was after all short-listed as one of the best players in the tournament. Mostly in these summer tournaments, players get on a run of great form that overshadows their overall body of work. Then a big club swoops that person up for a high fee and regrets it late. Arsenal fans do not need to look further than Andrey Arshavin. But as that tournament showed and the magic he brought to Madrid thereafter, Ozil’s class is here to stay.
With Carlo Ancelotti preferring to build Madrid’s attack around Isco and their financial budget around Gareth Bale, Arsene Wenger smartly moved in to give every Gooner what they have been pining for: a world class signing. After taking much flack from critics and fans alike, Wenger answered by spending big while also sticking to his mantra of acquiring someone who will make the team better. With this talent and price tag of £42.4m, an Arsenal record, Wenger delivered the Premier League a statement of intent: that the club can still draw the right talent under his ideology. While Arsenal was not able to wrap up another striker in the process, which many feel is still needed incase Olivier Giroud’s health were to be in question, bringing in Ozil is more important. He has Arsenal’s slick team play, the knack to out pass a team to death, in his DNA.
With Ozil in the lineup, Arsenal’s formation can look as such:
Sagna (Jenkinson), Mertesacker, Koscienly, Gibbs
Walcott, Ozil, Carzola
This can fluctuate over time, especially with the number of players who will return after injury, but Arsenal fans should be excited of what Ozil brings. Personally, I would like to Carzola join in the middle of the park, but with Ozil being the central focus in Arsenal’s attack, the team will do just fine. With Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out for extended periods of time, Carzola can be on the left more numerous matches. Ozil has the keys to the offense now and the full confidence from Arsenal fans the world over to deliver. While Ozil brings enormous class, I still think Arsenal is not quite there to win the league. My greatest wish is to be proven wrong, but this transfer at the very least brings more stunning football to the Emirates and give the Gunners a shot at silverware this season.