When Mesut Ozil signed for Arsenal in the closing stages of last summer’s transfer window, there was barely a football fan alive who wasn't caught catching flies.
Here was a team renowned for not spending big splashing out £42million to bring one of the biggest names in football from one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Before we go any further, let’s get one thing straight; Ozil was taking a gamble by signing on at the Emirates. It may hurt to hear if you’re an Arsenal fan, but all things considered it’s the truth.
Having not won a trophy in almost nine years, and not appearing possessive of the sort of squad talent needed to mount a sustainable challenge on the Premier League title, the Gunners were hardly the next logical step after leaving Real Madrid.
This wasn’t Chelsea, who could boast a familiar figure in Jose Mourinho, it wasn’t Manchester City, who could virtually guarantee a good season by way of their financial power. It wasn’t even Manchester United, who, though Sir Alex Ferguson-less, were coming off the back of a campaign that had seen them pick up the English title without ever stretching their legs.
He may well have been promised sweet nothings in order to make the switch, but in footballing terms at least, Ozil was taking a punt in moving to north London.
Following an impressive start to life under Arsene Wenger, which saw him live up to his billing as a passmaster, the playmaker was tipped for a long and prosperous future with his new side. Fans heralded him as the best buy of the window, and the £42million lavishly spent to tempt him to England was dubbed a wise investment.
Fast forward almost six months and the situation could not be more different. A series of poor performances have significantly lowered Ozil’s stock, and manager and players alike have been forced to leap to his defence in order to counteract the widespread criticism he’s garnered from the stands. Frankly put, he’s having a torrid time of it.
And it’s in climates like these that fans should remember above all else that they have one of the most coveted assets in world football. Make no mistake, were Ozil to be put on the market tomorrow for £42million, he would be sold before the end of the day.
In fact it’s no wonder than reports are beginning to emerge suggesting clubs like Chelsea could look to take advantage of his lack of harmony at Arsenal. If they can, they will.
Rather than haranguing him for lacking the killer edge he showed at Madrid they should be supporting him until he can find his feet. As opposed to regarding him an expensive flop they should consider themselves exceptionally fortunate to have a player of his calibre and pedigree at their side’s disposal.
He may not be setting the world alight at the moment but there’s no doubting that Ozil has the ability to achieve great things with Arsenal if given the time to do so.
It may go against their overriding emotions of frustration, but supporters need to realise that they risk driving Ozil away if they don’t start to show some solidarity.
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