When Arsene Wenger smashed his club’s transfer record to complete the signing of Mesut Ozil on transfer deadline day last summer, he succeeded with possibly the transfer move of his managerial career to date.
At the time the Frenchman was under the cosh, the fans were calling for his head and his team’s threadbare squad depth was foreboding to say the least. The acquisition of a world-renown Real Madrid star was exactly what the doctor ordered at the Emirates, and it may well just have been the tonic which cured a poison threatening to end Wenger’s Arsenal career.
Aside from his obvious on-pitch influence shortly after arrival, Ozil’s introduction lifted the squad and allowed far more room for belief than would have been possible otherwise. Fans hailed his talents, praised his impact and looked forward to a season wherein they could boast perhaps the Premier League’s most potent playmaker.
Fast forward to the present day and the gloss has all but faded. The German international has been the subject of harsh criticisms from his own supporters and the mass media, and it’s now looking as though his debut season in England will largely be one to forget. Indeed, the wild speculation linking him with a move to London rivals Chelsea should be the last nail in the coffin for those still wondering whether or not the £42million spent on Ozil has been quantified thus far.
And here’s where we get to my main point; the rumours suggesting the 25-year-old could be reunited with Jose Mourinho are not wild. At least not in my opinion. No, I firmly believe that the naysayers and doubters of Ozil’s talents are not only going completely the wrong way about their business with their critiques, but they are placing further pressure where it’s not needed. Such weight of expectation must certainly be affecting the midfielder’s happiness at the Emirates, and it doesn’t take a genius to deduce that he may well opt for a move to Stamford Bridge if he thinks it will bear more fruit in the long term.
What’s more, I think he should. Ozil’s career to date should be justification enough of the quality he is able to produce, and the fact that he’s been consistently eye-catching in Germany, Spain and on the international scene effectively rubbish the theory that he’s destined to ultimately be unable to adjust to the change of league.
No, I think given the time to fully settle in and acclimatise Ozil will more than pay dividends for Arsene Wenger. To panic and deem him “lost”, as certain reports have done, paints a picture of frustration, and not one consistent with the faith Wenger will surely afford him the time to repay. For me he simply needs to be unshackled, unrestrained and allowed to play with the freedom he so effortlessly enjoyed at Madrid.
At Chelsea he would almost certainly be gifted those things. In Mourinho he would have a manager who already knows his traits and shortcomings, and in Eden Hazard he would have a pier who is already the established figurehead of the team’s attack. Just as Cristiano Ronaldo did at Madrid, Hazard would alleviate a substantial amount of the pressure on Ozil’s shoulders, and he could simply revert back to his natural playing style.
Only a fool would claim that Arsenal want to lose their prized asset a mere year after they purchased him, but it’s a scenario that could, and possibly should, play out if the club’s most leal supporters don’t get off his back.