As a 24-year-old man, some things should not be remotely as captivating as they are.
As a 24-year-old man, the excitement that can be extracted from events shouldn’t be as great as it was when you were a wide-eyed 10 year-old-boy.
Yet, on Monday evening, half an hour before the transfer window slammed shut as only it can instead of merely closing, Arsenal made me feel that excitement all over again.
Mesut Ozil signing for Arsenal is only comparable to one signing in my living memory; Sol Campbell crossing North London in 2001. A monumental signing, it simply blew away Arsenal fans when he walked out alongside Arsene Wenger. But that was different.
Admittedly, the Gunners had ended the 2000-2001 season empty handed, but the side were perennial contenders. In fact, how we lost the FA Cup final that year still remains a mystery. That was an Arsenal side that could match the best of them stride for stride, blow for blow.
This current Arsenal squad, to put it bluntly, cannot. The first team is outstanding, and I would genuinely put our first team up against anybody else’s in the Premier League and give them at worst a fighting chance. The issue is beyond the first team, where the lack of depth becomes plainly obvious. Which makes the acquisition of Ozil all the more stunning, and all the more significant.
This is not just simply a world class player signing for Arsenal. This is a statement about where Wenger believes the club could and should be headed. This is a signing that says Arsenal are prepared to scrap with the petrol dollars of the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, and it says they can shop in the same market as these clubs. But even more importantly than that, it says that genuine world class players can see Arsenal as one of the clubs they should be looking to head to.
With that lies the real excitement for us Arsenal fans; players can believe in the club again. No longer are we the finishing school for the big boys to take their pick of starlets when they see fit. When a world star like Ozil joins, others take notice. Just as they did when Robinho joined Manchester City in 2008. Just as they did when Ibrahimovic joined PSG. And just as they did when Dennis Berkamp joined Arsenal in 1995.
As David Dein has said, Bergkamp was “the first brick in the wall.” With the arrival of Mesut Ozil, the Emirates stadium may just have its first brick in a new wall. And as the saying goes, ‘build it and they will come’.
As an Arsenal fan, it’s exciting to watch knowing that a wall is under construction.
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