The best of Özil

With Arsenal breaking their transfer record to sign the German international Mesut Özil from Real Madrid; TKTG brings the best articles from around the web.



Mesut Ozil can breathe new life into Arsenal’s Emirates era

Occasionally transfers have a ripple effect. The deal represents considerably more than the movement of a player from one club to another, and the crazy maths of the sums involved. In welcoming Mesut Ozil, a genuine global A-lister, Arsenal have made their most significant foray into the transfer market since they bought Dennis Bergkamp.

Back in 1995, Bergkamp walked into the marble halls and changed everything. At his official unveiling, the club chose the Stone Roses’ This Is The One as accompaniment, and a chord was struck. Bergkamp was an extremely un-Arsenal-esque transfer at the time. The previous spate of arrivals included Glenn Helder, John Hartson and Chris Kiwomya. Not exactly earth shattering. Bergkamp had found himself a little out of sorts at Internazionale but he was a jewel, a world name, nonetheless. The £7.5m fee obliterated Arsenal’s transfer record at the time.

Potentially, Ozil can be that zeitgeist signing for the post-Highbury generation. Since moving to the Emirates the perception of Arsenal as a selling club has accelerated with each departure of a stellar talent. In 2006 Ashley Cole moved to Chelsea. Thierry Henry left for Barcelona a year later. Cesc Fábregas took the same journey in 2011. Robin van Persie’s controversial switch to Manchester United in 2012 knocked another nail into the coffin that seemed to represent Arsenal’s ambition.

Up until deadline day, this summer’s shenanigans had not exactly added to Arsenal’s reputation as a destination of choice for the highest-calibre players. The indecision over Gonzalo Higuaín, the botched attempt to land Luis Suárez, and the shambolic negotiations for Yohan Cabaye hardly gave the impression that this was a club with a plan. It was as if they sent their transfer man, Dick Law, out into the big wide world with their own specially made banana-skin shoes.

And now this. Ozil, a playmaker of considerable refinement for Real Madrid and Germany, brings both excitement and status to Arsenal. The size of the fee is also a game-changer for the club. They have taken their previous transfer record (£15m for Andrey Arshavin) and wellied it out of the ballpark.

They welcome a player who was highly enough regarded at the Bernabéu that not so long ago Jorge Valdano reckoned he would be the player to “define the next decade at Real Madrid”. Xabi Alonso described him as “the kind of player you don’t find these days”. José Mourinho called him “unique”. So what changed? The purchase of Bale and Isco, which together with Cristiano Ronaldo, leaves only bit-part cameos for the rest of their creative attacking cadre.

Although this career development might not be what he had in mind, it need not be the end of the world to be rejected by Real. Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben were both ushered out surplus to requirements, and went on to breathe new life into their football. A starring roles in a Champions League final and a treble winning season (for Inter and Bayern Munich respectively) means they are not pained by regret.

Arsenal are gaining a player who blends creativity with efficiency. Some 94 assists for club and country in the past three years is a remarkable statistic. It is telling that the Real fans took the opportunity to make their feelings felt at the Gareth Bale unveiling to chant “Don’t sell Ozil”.

This is quite the coup for Wenger. The Arsenal manager has been a long-distance admirer for years. He watched Ozil in Germany’s youth teams, although even an amateur judge who saw the way he orchestrated their Under-21 European final triumph over England in 2009 could not have missed his special talent. Germany’s Under-21 manager, Horst Hrubesch, was fulsome in his praise. “We in Germany are prone to rave about foreign players … but we have our own Messi. Our Messi is Ozil.”

It really is an enormous deal for Arsenal. Wenger had said that he might surprise us on deadline day. He certainly did. Although Arsenal would have loved a couple more surprises.

Source: Guardian

The biggest Wow since Dennis Bergkamp



…There are certain moments in history when you remember exactly where you were when it happened. Arsenal fans who were alive at the time will be able to tell you exactly what they were doing when they first heard Dennis Bergkamp signed for the club. The same applies to Ozil. Not since the Dutchman arrived have Arsenal signed a player who really makes the fans’ jaws drop on seeing the news. Ozil is a world-class player who has his peak ahead of him, and he’s joined Arsenal.

There have been some understandable critics querying why Arsenal need an attacking midfield. In a squad that looks so threadbare, the centre of midfield is an area in which Arsenal are well stocked. However, there is no doubt that Ozil is an improvement on the options Arsenal have in that area of the pitch. Anyone who doesn’t want to see how Ozil links up with Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and others either hates football or just hates Arsenal.

Given this is an unprecedented piece of spending from Arsenal, this next point might seem strange. However, if there was ever a Wenger way of spending more than £40 million, then this is it. Ozil will fit straight into the team in his style of play and is a player Arsenal have tracked before. When compared to the other player Arsenal were willing to pay £40 million for, I suspect most Gooners will be much happier with Ozil over Suarez. He isn’t the out-and-out striker that the squad still needs, but the German seems like less of a liability compared to Suarez. He comes into the Premier League with no baggage and with his best years ahead of him.

There could be holes later in the season, especially up front or in defence, but for the moment I’m off to run around outside and wave my arms around like an excitable child. Arsenal have signed a world-class player. Better late than never, Arsene.

Source: ESPN

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  1. The best of the week | TOKNOWTHEGAME.COM - September 9, 2013

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