It has been a tumultuous summer, a mentally and emotionally draining one to say the least; Seemingly endless hours of gnashing teeth and brain-cell destroying speculation regarding the colors of an football agent’s shoes and what it could mean for their ‘esteemed’ clients (or rather our potential targets). But finally we are at the “promised land”, a land of rainbows, unicorns, candy-cane trees and magically bug-eyed German playmakers.
I spent most of the summer in football hibernation, doing my best (and failing) to avoid the ridiculous transfer rumors and trying not to be consumed by the tide of simmering rage of unsatisfied gooners world over. I had promised myself to pass judgment only after the window closed and my forced silence now seems vindicated. But in all honesty, I had expected very little and the arrival of the lanky Teutonic midfielder has me truly blown out of the water like some stupefied whale caught in the middle of punch-up between the Gypsy Danger and Joleon Lescott.
There is a renewed sense of optimism wafting through the air, a phase shift in perspective if you will, by the arrival of the wiz of ?z. Suddenly The squad seems a lot stronger and Flaminni has gone from a “washed-out has-been” to a “decent squad player” within a span of a week, while young Yaya has managed to turned from “another useless kid” to “promising French national striker”… Surprising transformations by any yard-stick!!
Funnily enough certain sections of the gooning family have found a way to spew pessimism even in the face of this awesome signing; citing that a playmaker is not the player that the squad has been begging for all summer.
Though not wholly untrue, I’d argue that it would be utter madness to NOT a sign a truly world class midfielder, one who could probably stroll into any midfield in the world, be it club or country. I’m stating the obvious, but no, I am not sick of it all. Wenger was shrewd enough to make the most of a ‘decision’ by Real Madrid to green-light the sale of their most creative midfield string puller; it’s decisions like this that sometimes makes me think that the club is run by a bunch of brain addled orangutans on meth. Much credit to Wenger for a signing that could prove to be a turning point in Arsenal’s glorious history.
There is no scenario where the arrival of the German may hinder the progress of the team.
Ok, maybe I was being a tad hyperbolic, but the logic and (probably statistics too) say that the Ozil will enhance the midfield by no small degree. Too often has the midfield has been crying out for creativity last season and we were overly reliant on service (one-dimensional crosses that no-one seems to expect) from the wing. Especially toward the tail-end of the season after teams figured out that marking out Santi meant nullifying Arsenal’s only truly creative force and rendering all of our possession redundant.
One might argue or take offence at my suggestion that Santi was the ONLY threat, but consider that Art was employed as the ball playing midfielder while Ramsey was played all over the park in an effort to re-acclimatize to the (alleged) vicissitudes of English football and Rosicky and Jack suffered long stints in the sickbay. The miniature Spaniard is the most lethal when he allowed the freedom to roam between the left flank and the hole behind the striker (stop giggling damnit), free to bring carnage and wreak havoc wherever he may find the ball. Playing him in a anchored role in the midfield would be waste of his considerable talents.
With Ozil in the picture, the midfield permutations have given birth to an array of brain-numbing possibilities. The mere thought each of which has us gooners drooling in unabashed delight….
Perhaps a 4-4-1-1 with Ozil in the hole with a midfield combo of Santi-Ramsey-Art-Jack?
Or the more risky 4-3-1-2 with Oz rotating with Santi in the playmaker’s role while Ramsey and Jack run the midfield?
Maybe the more traditional 4-2-3-1 with a double pivot of Art & Ramsey to feed the trio of Santi, Jack & Ozil?
Or does a standard 4-3-3 with Ozil-Art-Jack & Santi-Oli-Theo tickle your fancy?
It seems impossible to avoid day dreams and fantasies of this smorgasbord of delightful combinations. I guess we’ll just have to wait patiently for Arsene to collectively flip every self-proclaimed expert off and do whatever the hell he pleases. Fortunately the man has the knack of making even broken things tick (sometimes). No. Diaby shalt not be added to this list of broken things.
But let’s take a moment to consider the fact that the number of people signing up for treatment for pre-mature ejaculation syndrome is on the rise; that being said, let’s not get a head of ourselves and gloss over the fact that a myriad of factors stand between us and our dreams of a rampaging Mesut in red and white:
First and foremost being the player’s mental state. It is an open secret that Ozil had no plans of leaving the Spanish capital and was pretty much forced into the move by the powers that be. Rarely does an unhappy employee excel at his work and though we often tend to forget, being a footballer ultimately is a form of employment and every employee needs to find equilibrium before he reaches his levels of optimum performance.
Certain players are profoundly affected to even minor changes to their 3 C’s (club, country & culture) and often their performance dips (the bouts of homesickness that afflicted Reyes, Poldi and Jesus Navas are well documented), but certain others (Santi, Michu, Hazard to name a few) seem to take things in their stride and while keeping their eyes on the ultimate prize of career fulfillment (and boat-loads of money).
Yet another big plus is the presence of the other Germans (Mert, Poldi, Eis & Gnarby) in the squad and Wenger’s ability to converse in chaste German which will contribute in helping Ozil make the transition to the Ashburton Grove. While Wenger and the rest of the club will most certainly go the extra mile to ensure that their high prized asset is copacetic in his new habitat, it does take two to tango! The club may only go so far in trying to keep a player comfortable, so it is up to Mesut to warm up to the welcome and starts his season with his head up and his a sunny disposition to his new home.
The second and slightly more tangible factor that stands between the club and an Ozilicious midfield is the style of Arsenal’s rather unique style of play and the physicality of the premier league. The gunner’s fluent passing and quick counter-attack should prove to the perfect home for a player with ?zil ‘s ability so that concern seems rather moot. BUT on the other hand, the Liga is a far more docile league than it’s English counterpart and the bone-crushing, ligament tearing, nose-shattering brutality that often typifies the English game will take some getting used-to. Ozil ‘s International experience and the champions league campaigns of his past will ensure that he is no alien to a slightly more animalistic approach to the beautiful game, but dealing with multiple games against the likes of Stoke, Sunderland and most bottom table clubs in a single season will be both: a mental and physical challenge. He should be upto the task as long he ensures mind over matter.
If the performance of recent imports from the Liga (Michu, Mata, Santi) are anything to go by, the German should not face too many problems though.
Third and the least pressing concern is regarding his fitness. A quick glance at Ozil’s past tell you that he isn’t one of those “gifted but slightly injury prone players..” (where the hell have we heard that before?!) but my paranoia fuelled imagination keeps creating ghastly scenarios where Ozil’s magical skill is Rosickied and we end up contemplating ritualistic Harakiri with a 2B pencil.
But then again, I wouldn’t worry too much about the whole thing though, while I make it no secret that my faith in the club and all-powerful Wenger took a considerable beating over the last two seasons, my gut says that he will make it work and Ozil will soon be the poster boy for the burgeoning German presence in the English league. I usually trust my gut (and I recommend that you do too) as he has a funny way of being right EXCEPT when it comes to women; when my gut tells me to go up to cute girl in the hipster glasses sitting across the cafeteria and say hello, then I know that my gut is just being a schadenfroh arsehole waiting to giggle after I stutter and fall flat on my face.
As you scratch your head and wonder how a gut can turn into an arsehole, I bid you adieu for this week. Have a good one ladies and gents! I’ll see you on the other side of the hopefully Oziltastic Sunderland game (though I doubt Wenger will play him, I probably wouldn’t either).
P.S. Thanks Dad, I really needed that verbal lambasting to pull my head out of my arse.