Column: Arsenal tries to fill hole with Mesut Özil
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 22:09
If any player could be the final piece of Arsenal’s puzzle, it would be Mesut Özil. Arsenal missed out on many big players this summer, but Arsene Wenger was able to convince the German to leave Real Madrid.
Is he worth $68 million? While that is debatable, he is what Arsenal needed, other than a striker that they have been searching for years. As Olivier Giroud continues to heat up and Theo Walcott continues to strive to replace Thierry Henry, Özil brings plenty of poise and experience to the Gunners’ midfield.
At 24, his improvisation in the midfield is superb. Already we’ve seen the German tear apart defenses, and while Arsenal’s finishing certainly needs improvement–the tools are there. With a magical left foot and a killer service, the 24-year-old is able to carve up defenses.
Certainly, he has great vision, but is he the one to bring Arsenal a top of the Premier League or even Europe? Doubtful, just as Marouane Fellaini and Gareth Bale will not single-handedly bring glory to their clubs. And yet again, we’re left wondering what Arsenal should do with an abundance of strength in their midfield.
If anything, Özil’s presence in the center of the park will only make Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey more complete players. The German will make those two look better, as he will be a distraction on the pitch, allowing for additional room to operate between the two. Not to be misunderstood, Özil is a dream player for Arsenal, but whether he is a permanent solution to the Gunners’ trophy problem is another question.
While Champions League play has been secured regularly for Wenger’s side, they lack an out-and-out striker for Özil to feed the ball to. It would be unfair to say that Arsenal have become a little more direct with Giroud up front, but the potential connection between he and Walcott could be one to watch for as the season progresses.
And Wenger certainly believes in his new midfield, further adding to Arsenal’s hopes of a Premier League title push.
“He is 25 in October. He’s already a great player, as you say. There’s room now between 25 and 30 for him to become a dominant player and to make a step up from that,” Wenger told The Guardian.
Wenger is correct–maybe Real Madrid let a youngster leave the nest too early. The Galaticos let Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder leave, and look how their careers turned out. It’s safe to say that while his career in North London could prove to be a successful one, all players want silverware. Cesc Fabregas did, Alex Song did and even Robin van Persie did.
Followed with the belief of his manager, Ramsey and Wilshere can also be potential benefactors from Özil’s creativity. Wilshere, whom Wenger has hailed to becoming England’s next Bobby Moore, can benefit from the German’s presence. Taking into account his relatively mediocre performance against Marsaille in the Champions League group stage, he left room for Ramsey to work. Ramsey dominated the midfield for large portions of the match and constructed inch perfect passes to both Theo Walcott and defender Bacary Sagna. Without question, it appeared that Ramsey was at the heart of everything in the match, and if Özil remains true to the cause in North London, he may see everyone around him get better.
Although a dangerous player, Özil can be a non-factor in some matches. This is not dangerous in a sense that Arsenal will not get their money’s worth, but rather dangerous in the sense that the Gunners may finally be firing on all cylinders.