Morning all, I hope all is well…
I have another treat in-store for you today. We have a fantastic guest post from James Reuben. James is a fantastic and very talented writer, whom I respect greatly and admire his views. I’m absolutely delighted to have him on the blog (again). He does have his own blog spot, make sure you check it out here. There is a link at the bottom of the page to follow James on Twitter. If you only do one thing today (apart from reading his of course) click on that link. Enjoy. You can thank me later. Over to you James…
How can the signing of one player change the whole outlook of a fan’s view of a football club? The summer activity, or lack of, was very, very gloomy. Despite the bold statements of Gazidis and Wenger, we only had Sanogo and Flamini to show for it.
Cue 10.30pm on Monday 1st September when it was confirmed that Arsenal Football Club had signed Mesut Ozil for a staggering £42.5m, making it the second largest signing in British football history. I won’t dwell on the largest because that has generally been considered as an epic failure.
People since have said he isn’t what we need. I ask “Will he make us better?”. The resounding answer is “yes”. So WE NEED HIM. Agree, a defender and more importantly a striker were high on the shopping list. With the striker it was a case of stock being either unavailable or sold out.
Wenger needs players to fit into his eco-system on the pitch, players who seamlessly slot in and you think they’ve been at the club for years, a la Famini, Cazorla, The BFG, Giroud, etc. Players like Gervinho and Arshavin for example didn’t and they were quickly cast aside. A striker other than Suarez and Higuain probably didn’t fit (Demba Ba, really?) and we now run the risk of being a Giroud injury away from playing Bendtner,
Failing to get Suarez, Higuain, Fellaini, Rooney,etc. over the summer was a shambles? I would have said yes last Sunday, but things looked decisively different by 11pm on Monday. The above played a part (the Wenger Eco-System) but also when you compare our activity to Man Utd. They too have had all summer to get targets and failed pretty miserably. When I left work last Friday, Utd fans were still understandably lauding it. Defeat to Liverpool and only a Fellaini addition (for an extra £4m) by Monday night and there was an air of a ‘Moyes out’ feeling!
Now,I don’t want to deflect our lack of activity by comparing us to Utd but it proves that signing players isn’t as necessarily as easy as we think. Our problems were exacerbated by Spurs’ activity. They have no eco-system and time will tell if their players will all gel and if AVB can please them all. Having Spurs fans saying that Ozil was over priced doesn’t wash. I’d barely had heard of Lemala and Soldado and they were £30m each! In one purchase and their sale of Bale (and a 1-0 win in the NLD) the tide felt like it was turning red once again (or never really changed!).
I admire Spurs for re-investing on the pitch but I’d also be worried about their seeming flippant disregard for the investment needed for their new ground.
So, back to the Wizard of Oz. His signing is only seemingly comparable to the signings of Bergkamp and Sol. Only comparable really to Bergkamp as, like then, we have bought a world class player rather than made one! We all remember where we were when we signed Bergkamp (at University in Leeds), Sol (Baggage Reclaim at Heathrow) and now Ozil (finishing playing 5-a-side). The media attention has been high and eclipsed all other activity.
With Mourinho claiming that Ozil is the best Number 10 in the world I take with a pinch of salt. He is king at kidology (now that SAF has retired). However, the outpouring of grief from Madrid players and fans may justify his bold claim.
Was the price too high? Probably only because it is a vast jump from what Arsenal are used to paying. The price is comparable to what else is going on in this crazy market, but if you want world class you need to pay the big, big bucks. It seems this is a real statement of intent from Wenger and the club. We can now play with the big boys and the next few windows for us will be interesting.
I saw a good YouTube clip of Ozil’s touches v Austria for Germany – he will fit nicely into the Wenger Eco-System and I look forward to seeing him in the famous red and white of Arsenal. A midfield of Cazorla,Ozil, Wilshire, Walcott, Arteta, Ramsey ain’t too shabby.
Yes we needed more but one step at a time.
Cheers for reading,
Please follow James on @jamesreuben