Bringing in a big-name player always creates excitement, and not just among the fans. The players get equally excited by the opportunity to play with world-class stars. And the infusion of talent is only one small part of what a player can bring.
Mesut Ozil arrives at Arsenal with an outstanding pedigree. His statistics speak for themselves. But even more impressive than his numbers is the frenzy that his signing has unleashed among the fans, players and media.
We turned to our panel of supporters in the USA and Canada what the player – and the move itself – could mean to Arsenal Football Club.
Question: What kind of impact do you think Mesut Ozil's signing will have on Arsenal – both and off the pitch?
After last season ended, everyone associated with Arsenal Football Club, from Arsène Wenger down to the proverbial (in the Arsenal blogosphere anyway) tea lady knew that we needed an injection of serious quality during the summer transfer window in order to compete. And for once, there was significant hope that this would finally be a reality for Arsenal.
Yet after unsuccessful dalliances with Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez from Liverpool, and after only acquiring free transfers in Flamini and Yaya Sanogo, who was rapidly becoming a victim of circumstance, there was a feeling around the Arsenal fanbase that we were being led up the garden path. All this while the neighbors had gone out and stumped up approximately £110 million on a slew of new players to replace a certain midfielder.
While some tempers were temporarily cooled by a win over the lilywhites, the feeling remained that more was needed.
Mesut Ozil improves Arsenal in the position that every team needs: the position where one of the very best players in the world comes to your team.Brett Chase
Did the boss deliver? Like a spotty teenager with a scooter and a bag of pizzas! And only just before the 30 minutes elapsed, meaning the pizza in this scenario would be free. Okay, it's a weak metaphor. But you get my point. I hope.
Never did I dare to hope that we would acquire a player of the caliber of Mesut Ozil, and never for the reported price (approximately £42.5 million). Arsène Wenger, he of the reported white-knuckle grip on the club's checkbook, had nearly trebled the club's record transfer fee, and I feel it was a bargain.
It's been mentioned in many places already that the Ozil signing was like that of Bergkamp, and I agree, in that both brought unquestioned world-class ability to the club but also changed the image of Arsenal to that of a team where star players would want to come. But this even surpasses the Bergkamp signing in a way: when Dennis came to Arsenal, he was leaving Inter Milan after a poor season. Mesut Ozil arrives from Real Madrid, one of the true giants of European football, at the top of his game. Ozil had more assists in the last three seasons than any other player in any of Europe's top five leagues (72 in all competitions for Madrid), is regarded by most as the best creative midfielder in the game today, and at only 24 years old he has the best years of football directly ahead of him. He is a proven winner, having won the U-21 European championships, the DFB-Pokal, the Copa Del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup, and La Liga in his career.
Not only that, but the signing is even more satisfying as it was made possible by the sale of Gareth Bale to Madrid by Tottenham. And did I mention this was right on the heels of having won the North London derby?
On the surface, what Mesut Ozil brings Arsenal is a complete technical player. Like Santi Cazorla, he is truly two-footed. His vision of the field is perhaps peerless among all midfielders in Europe, his touch is immaculate. He is a gifted taker set-pieces, which should put a stop to the Theo Walcott Experiment in that area. He is one of the best passers of the ball in the world today: 85.1 percent completions since the beginning of the 2009/10 season, which is surprising and impressive given that he typically operates around the opposing penalty area. He is a superb dribbler, moves very well off the ball, and can finish when needed (nine last season in La Liga in 30 chances, a conversion rate of 41 percent).
However, he is naturally an unselfish player and prefers to create. And boy, does he ever create: in 2022 minutes last season, Ozil created 92 chances for Madrid, 22 minutes per chance created (MPCC). No player in the Premier League did better last season, and the best rate any Arsenal player managed last season was Santi Cazorla at 34 MPCC. And the two of them will be playing TOGETHER.
Statistically, the possibilities of an Arsenal attack with Mesut Ozil as the fulcrum are mouth-watering. Some have voiced concerns that Ozil is not a very good player defensively. I do not disagree, although I also don't know of very many No. 10s in the world who spend a great deal of time tackling. We ought to be able to cope; I can't recall too many saving tackles Robert Pires was ever required to make. We can cope.
Yet the projected impact of the Ozil signing is perhaps even greater off the pitch. With Arsenal entering an era in which the financial shackles imposed on the club due to the Emirates Stadium are finally loosening, along with new commercial deals adding a large chunk of revenue for the club, the Gunners are finally able to compete economically with the top European clubs. However, top players want to win trophies, and Arsenal, while remaining competitive, have not won any trophies since the FA Cup in 2005.
But the addition of Mesut Ozil makes joining Arsenal a much more attractive proposition for those players; a simple online search for the reactions of Real Madrid players to the Ozil signing (Hint: they're not happy) shows the reputation Mesut has among great players. Just as the Bergkamp signing made Arsenal an enticing place for Overmars, Petit, Henry, Pires, Campbell and others to ply their trade, so too should the arrival of Ozil. With Mourinho reportedly nixing a loan deal for Demba Ba to Arsenal once Ozil signed, our rivals obviously view us with a trepidation that they have not done for many years.
Some fans though, presumably the most incurably miserable among us, have asked whether Arsenal needed Ozil, which I find to be both myopic and outright stupid. But, okay, I'll play. For one thing, Arsenal have been playing the same system designed specifically around Cesc Fabregas for two seasons without a player having been brought in capable of playing that creative, trequarista role. Ozil more than qualifies, and is arguably even better than the Catalan. So we needed him for that reason. Also, Ozil improves Arsenal in the position that every team needs: the position where one of the very best players in the world comes to your team. Sorry if that was snarky, I just have very little time for the type of people who would drive to have a lawyer execute a will leaving them filthy rich, but leave annoyed because their parking wasn't validated. Get a grip.
Certainly, the addition of Ozil does not immediately convert Arsenal into title contenders. There are still holes in the squad that need filling that were not addressed in the transfer window. But this signing immediately makes us massively stronger on the pitch, it is a statement to the rest of the footballing world that Arsenal are willing and able to compete financially for the best players, and is a message to us, the fans, that Arsenal are committed to winning, delivering on all of those promises we've had during the lean times.
Happy days are here again...
Without entirely reiterating Brett’s explanation of what Ozil can do on the pitch, I think it’s pretty clear that when it comes to creative, attacking midfielders, Ozil is clearly one of the best -- if not the best -- exponents in the modern game today. His speed of thought combined with the unparallelled ability to execute that creativity will no doubt improve all those around him, especially the more active wide players like Walcott, Cazorla and Chamberlain who spend most of the time hanging off the shoulder of defenders.
I do agree that there were of course other areas in Arsenal’s squad that should have and unfortunately were not addressed in the transfer window, but I don’t think that should detract from what is, no matter how you slice it, a fantastic piece of business that brought one of the most sought-after creative midfielders in the world to our very own club.
You simply can't discount the intangible value of the buzz and genuine excitement that's been generated by a signing of this magnitude.Joel McNamara
I know there’s been a lot of fanfare surrounding Ozil’s arrival and I think in some instances people have got a little carried away with their expectations for immediate success in multiple competitions all because of one big signing. While I certainly believe he will be a catalyst for change in Arsenal’s fortunes, I don’t think Ozil sufficiently addresses the squad’s lack of depth in a way that can suddenly make us a major contender in every competition. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll certainly give us a boost, but the Champions League, Premiership and FA Cup winners in recent years have all relied on depth throughout their squad, not just in midfield, and barring an unprecedented injury-free season I just don’t see us being able to call on that kind of depth in a way that will make us major contenders in several competitions.
All that said, you simply can’t discount the intangible value of the buzz and genuine excitement that’s been generated by a signing of this magnitude, especially when conversely you consider the amount of anguish and downright envy it’s clearly instilled in some of our Premiership rivals and even Ozil’s former teammates at Real Madrid. You have to wonder if the club ever expected the shirt sales, euphoria and general fan morale to reach such a high level on the back of just one signing, but that’s exactly what it’s achieved.
As Brett quite rightly pointed out, more importantly this could pave the way for the arrival of additional top level players in the future as they begin to view Arsenal as a genuinely ambitious football club. It will certainly be fascinating to see how Arsène builds on this one statement signing, because in terms of marketing potential and additional player acquisition I think we’ve all been amazed by the amount of groundwork it’s laid.
I personally cannot remember the last time Arsenal signed a player of Ozil’s caliber and I know many others can’t. When was the last time Arsenal brought in a player at his prime and from a massive club like Real Madrid? Even Dennis Bergkamp’s signing does not compare to what happened on transfer deadline day this summer as the legendary Dutchman had just come off a less than stellar season with Inter Milan when he switched to the Gunners.
When I first heard of the possibility of us signing the German, I remember feeling excited but also at the same time doubtful that we would actually be able to pry him away from Madrid. Why would Madrid want to get rid of their most creative midfielder? It just made no sense. Would Arsène be willing to spend that much money on one player?
And so he did. The club tripled its transfer fee record to secure the services of the world’s best No. 10. The signing sent a message to the world. Arsenal meant business this season and the club was finally ready to play with the big boys.
The signing not only brought together the Arsenal fan base but it lifted spirits within the Club.Zara Bashir
The signing not only brought together the Arsenal fan base but it lifted spirits within the Club. Players who had been talking about the need for good signings were relieved, as were club representatives who had earlier in the summer proudly proclaimed how the club had the funds necessary to make big signings.
The departures of our best players in recent seasons had brought a shadow over the club. Many fans were worried that we would no longer be seen as an attractive destination for the world’s best players. This one signing has now taken that perception and thrown in out the window. There are just not enough words to describe how monumental it is.
Ozil will bring a new dimension to this Arsenal squad with his creativity and ability to take set pieces well. I had long thought that our midfield lacked a real creative force since the departure of a certain Catalan and although Cazorla inspired the team last season, we had never returned to the same level. I cannot wait to see a midfield consisting of Ozil, Cazorla, Wilshere and Ramsey. I know I’m ready to dream again.
The views expressed above are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Media Group.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 13 Sep 2013