“Baby, baby. Baby don’t leave me. Ooh, please don’t leave me. All by myself”
Summer 2011. Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri depart Arsenal Football Club.
Summer 2012. Robin van Persie departs Arsenal Football Club.
Summer 2013…who is left to leave? Is Santi Cazorla going to stick around?
May 2013…June 2013…July 2013…August 2013…
Where are the signings at, Arsene Wenger?
Okay, they’re coming. Probably. Possibly.
Yaya Sanogo? Great, excellent. A prospect. A blank canvas. But this team needs something more.
Mathieu Flamini? Great, excellent. Just what midfield needs. A battler, a fighter. Experience. A man with something to put right after last time. But this team needs something more.
Is this it?
“I’ve got this yearning, burning
Yearning feelin’ inside me
Ooh, deep inside me
And it hurts so bad”
Transfer Deadline Day:
Mesut Ozil. Club record signing. Best summer signing 2013. Saviour of Arsenal football club.
Ozil signing for Arsenal was supposed to be the start. The start of something big. The start of massive signings festooning Highbury House, holding up a hastily-printed replica shirt and smiling for the camera.
Ozil was ‘the best number ten” in the world. Dennis Bergkamp, Andrey Arshavin and Robert Pires, all rolled into one. His start glowed brighter than almost any other new Arsenal signing in recent memory. Brighter than Bergkamp’s limbering up until that sun-bathed afternoon against Southampton at Highbury. Brighter than Henry’s Bambi-esque outings until that sun-hidden day against Southampton at The Dell. Brighter than Pires’ precious avoidance of physicality until that Double winning season in his second year at the club.
And how he shined, and how he illuminated others in the side; Aaron Ramsey, whose late runs were picked out by the German sniper; goals raining in like a tropical storm…Olivier Giroud, the ideal frontman to bounce both ideas and passes off of, as well as set up in the box. All surrounding the glowing North Star of Mesut Ozil shined, shined brightly, shined like champions.
Assists, goals, passes that make the soul sing…yes, Ozil gave us the lot, from the off. And he was ours. He was a Gunner.
“You came into my heart
With a burning love
That stings like a bee”
Three months in and Ozil is the latest Wenger masterstroke. The catalyst to fire Ramsey, Giroud and Theo Walcott (when he returns). All is good. All is great.
Christmas 2013. Arsenal and Ozil riding high on the crest of an unlikely wave. A few stutters, a few setbacks, but overall, a marriage straight from the heart of Mills & Boon.
The returning Walcott; an ideal outlet, a la Angel Di Maria or Cristiano Ronaldo, to benefit from Ozil’s extra-sensory perception, now offers another outlet for Mesut Ozil to shine. Fans and media alike are kneeling at the altar of Ozil. This is what £42.5m buys you. Bring on January, when another big name can supplement this magician. Bring on January, when this young team can have experience and some depth added to it.
“Now that I surrender
You now wanna leave
Ooh, you wanna leave me”
Injuries can’t be predicted, right? Even if you had a dedicated medical staff with ‘red zones’ and such, injuries can’t be predicted, right? The luminous Aaron Ramsey; on track for 20 goals in a season, is cut down by injury. Theo Walcott; making up for lost time and exploding back into the team and onto the score-sheet, is cut down by injury. Olivier Giroud…alone upfront for the last four months, ploughing an often lonely furrow, is exhausted. Mesut Ozil, playing more minutes than he has ever done before, without a winter break, is exhausted.
The hiccups in the team’s results are turning into indigestion.
The doubters are growing louder.
Why is our record signing playmaker faltering now?
Why hasn’t the strike-force been added to? It hasn’t been added to. It is exhausted. It is one-dimensional. It hasn’t performed in the big games.
So why are you doubting Mesut Ozil?
“Ooh, baby, baby
Where did our love go?
Ooh, don’t you want me?
Don’t you want me no more?”
“Arsenal midfielder and supposed talisman Mesut Özil is failing to live up to his £42m billing.” – The Telegraph, 20/2/14
“Mesut Ozil needs a break to ease his Arsenal misery.” – BBC Sport, 20/2/14
“Mesut Ozil put a brave face on things after being left out of Arsenal’s matchday squad for yesterday’s Premier League clash with Sunderland.” – Metro, 23/2/14
“ARSENAL star Mesut Ozil has been backed to overcome his current slide in form and start firing on all cylinders again for club and country by Germany coach Joachim Low.” – Daily Star, 26/2/14
“View from Germany: Mesut Özil at the crossroads of his career.” –Hereisthecity.com, 26/2/14
“Mesut Ozil allowed extra time away from training in order to recapture his best form and boost Arsenal’s trophy quest.” – The Independent, 27/2/14
Mesut Ozil, without an outlet for his vision, is like hiring David Fincher without employing actors. It is like going to a gun range with a chrome Desert Eagle but not bringing the box of .44 ammunition. It is like watching a Chelsea game without holding up a sign proclaiming the crayon-scribbled rantings of a spoilt man-child.
Aaron Ramsey is injured.
Theo Walcott is injured.
Olivier Giroud is exhausted and he has had a grubby introduction with our embarrassingly shameful British Press who still believe that whom a person takes up to their hotel room is news and also who still believe that lining the pockets of these salubrious characters who ‘kiss and tell’ is a worthy use of company funds.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is only just returning from injury.
Yaya Sanogo has barely played alongside the first team.
You cannot make a feast with scraps.
Build them up. Knock them down. Was it ever thus?
But Gooners know. Gooners are aware.
Yes, even good players miss penalties. Didn’t we watch the fabled Bayern Munich team throw away a Champions League trophy, in their own stadium, fail, on penalties? That same club that have now swept all before them.
Mesut Ozil is a master. A wizard. A footballing genius. But football is a team game. Without an outlet, Mesut Ozil can never be as good as he can be.
Arsenal may not win a trophy this season, despite high scores, high drama and heightened expectations, but is that the fault of one signing?
Should Mesut Ozil’s record-breaking transfer not been the catalyst to spark off more, instead of dithering, hesitating and standing still in January?
That is not the fault of Mesut Ozil.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. And it wasn’t built by one man.
Thanks for reading.