If Arsenal fans wanted Arsene Wenger to spend money this summer, they got what they wished for. And in dramatic fashion, too. Arsenal confirmed the signing of Mesut Ozil for £42 million at around 10.30pm on Monday night, beating the club’s previous record transfer fee by £27 million.
This signing isn’t just about record fees, nor is it only about adding new blood to the squad. It’s a statement of intent from Arsenal that they are still serious contenders in the Premier League.
It has also been a wakeup call to the league’s other top sides. Jose Mourinho revealed that he personally blocked Arsenal’s attempt to sign Demba Ba on loan following the news that they had signed Ozil. Quoted in various newspapers, he said, ‘I did not accept Arsenal’s offer for Demba Ba because, added to their signing of Ozil, they would have been title contenders.’
There were also more than a few angry reactions from Manchester United fans, annoyed that they didn’t snap up the midfielder before Arsenal had the chance. Within hours of the news being announced, the hashtag #MoyesOut was trending on Twitter.
Wenger hasn’t strayed from his philosophy in signing Ozil, despite the player’s high price tag. Ozil isn’t just an expensive player – he’s a smart signing. Yes, he spectacularly broke the club’s transfer record, but in Ozil, Wenger has found a player in Arsenal’s mould – full of creative and technical ability.
He makes those precise, accurate passes in the final third that are so important in Arsenal’s attacking play. His 47 assists in La Liga prove that. Arsenal fans are already comparing him to Dennis Bergkamp. He’s also the playmaker Arsenal have lacked since Cesc Fabregas’ departure two summers ago.
Before this record-breaking signing was announced, Arsenal fans were losing patience. The atmosphere at the Emirates has been one of tension and frustration recently. Ozil’s arrival has injected some excitement into the fans, something that was missing at the start of the last two seasons as they watched their best players sold in two consecutive summers.
Instead of spending his entire alleged budget on an array of signings, Wenger has added three valuable players to his squad in the shape on Mathieu Flamini, Emiliano Viviano and Mesut Ozil.
Unlike Tottenham, Arsenal’s team is a tight unit, with an innate sense of how to play together. This is a factor that contributed to their title wins in 2002 and 2004. In Sunday’s derby, Tottenham by contrast looked like what they were – a group of players who had hardly played together before. Ozil will complement and add to Arsenal’s midfield rather than transform it. And that is just what Arsenal need.
It’s true that Ozil is yet to prove himself in the Premier League. It’s also true that Arsenal could be in trouble should they lose Giroud, currently their only available striker, to injury. However, with the addition of their new starlet, their midfield is undoubtedly one of the strongest in the Premier League. And that will put a smile on any Arsenal fan’s face.
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