After a tense transfer deadline day that went right to the wire, the signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid was the sort of star name that many Gunners fans had been pining for.
Here is a German international midfielder, who, in his time at the Bernabeu, was the top assist-maker in the whole of European football. Ozil is a Galactico signing, both in terms of name and in terms of transfer fee.
So what is the problem?
Well, I think the problem is best summed up by Wenger himself, commenting on the Ozil deal: “he has all the attributes I look for in an Arsenal player.”
He is, of course, referring to the German's wonderful technique, passing ability and creativity. Unfortunately, these are qualities that Arsenal already have in abundance. What they were actually crying out for was some size, strength and efficiency – something new Manchester United signing, Marouane Fellaini, has in spades.
At the start of the window, everyone knew that Arsenal needed a new goalkeeper, a new centre back, a defensive midfielder and a striker, plus maybe a winger to replace the outgoing Arshavin and Gervinho. In some ways, Wenger did just that, bringing in a new goalkeeper in Emiliano Viviano as well as a defensive midfielder in Mathieu Flamini and a new striker in Yaya Sanogo. Unfortunately, these aren't players of sufficient calibre to drastically improve the team. Arsenal needed world-class players in these positions but only one world-class player has arrived and in a position that Arsenal were already well-stocked in.
Ozil will play behind Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman has had a surprisingly good start to the season but he is not the top-class striker Arsenal need to be challenging for trophies and despite all the talk of Suarez, Rooney, Benzema and Higuain coming in, nothing happened.
Higuain would have been perfect and it is a real shame his signing wasn't wrapped up like it should have been. Luiz Gustavo too would have been a fantastic addition, which leads me to think that the signing of Ozil merely papers over the cracks.
A big name, no doubt, and a world-class player, but not the player Arsenal needed. Now the summer won't be remembered for the ones that got away but for the record-breaking arrival of a German international, who seems like a luxury signing akin, ironically, to a Real Madrid Galactico signing: prestigious but not needed.
Why Wenger didn't sign Julio Cesar or Asmir Begovic is beyond me. Why he wasted most of the summer trying to sign players who were always out of his reach is incomprehensible. More should have arrived. He waited until the last few days and hours of the transfer window to get deals done. It's baffling.
Mathieu Flamini was a very good player and his cameo against Tottenham was by no means an embarrassment but will he be the defensive midfielder the team is crying out for? Four years ago, he was the perfect foil for Cesc Fabregas but at the age of 29, will he be the all-action defensive pivot he once was and help Jack Wilshere? I really hope so. On a free transfer, he is a solid addition but I was hoping (and expecting) more. A Kondogbia, a Luis Gustavo, a Fernando but none of them arrived.
Wenger spent all summer pursuing a world-class striker but he failed. Yes, Suarez, Rooney and Benzema always seemed to be wishful thinking but there were other, more realistic options available. Jackson Martinez, Leandro Damiao, Alessandro Matri, Michu and Aubemayang are all drastic improvements on Niklas Bendtner (one of the worst players ever to 'grace' the Premier League). Money was no object and yet a proven striker was not brought in to help Giroud.
What irks me the most is that bringing in Ozil for an inflated fee will placate Arsenal fans and let Wenger off the hook, when the Arsenal manager promised so much more. Ozil alone will not help Arsenal challenge for trophies. A spree more like Tottenham's or Manchester City's was required to help make the Gunners competitive once more. Yes, 'quality over quantity' you say, but why not both, like the two aforementioned clubs? If Arsenal can attract Ozil, then it suggests that other big names could have been bought.
I am sure Ozil will be a huge success in England but I fear, like Cazorla before him, the plaudits will fall on the player himself and on Arsenal's pretty style of play but that there will be no trophies to come with it.
Wenger has tried to replicate the tiki-taka Spanish style but it simply doesn't work in England. You need more than a team of small, technical footballers to be dominant in the Premier League, you need athleticism and power too.
So far, Wenger has failed to construct a rounded, balanced team that has enough quality and variation to win the league or even challenge for it. This window was a huge chance to address that and he hasn't. He has simply brought in another top class attacking midfielder, who admittedly is an upgrade on his current options, but who was not needed in the first place.
Maybe I am being a sour puss, maybe I'm being ungrateful but I am sure at least some Arsenal fans will agree with me when I say that this window has been an overall failure and that Ozil is not the answer.
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