Mesut Özil’s contract: Give us a sign!

Contracts at Arsenal are never straightforward and Mesut Özil’s is proving no exception.

We’re no different from other big clubs in that respect. We could each design a ‘contract bingo’ card and pretty much all come up with the same clichés. Outrageous salary demands end when they put a bit of Phyllis Nelson on the turntable and move closer before a usurper enters stage right with their riches and wealth beyond compare. And at some point, there’s a profession of love for the manager. There always is and I suspect Arsène loves them too. And I hadn’t mentioned the show of ambition. That’s always there.

Mesut understands the game and the teaser of an interview with Kicker, the German football magazine, publish today, underlines he knows how to play it.

“I am very, very happy at Arsenal and have let the club know that I would be ready to sign a new contract. The fans want that I stay and now it is just down to the club.

“The club knows that I am here most of all because of Arsène Wenger. He is the one who signed me and he is the one whose trust I have. The club also knows that I want to be clear what the manager is going to [in the future].”

Unsurprisingly, agendas lend themselves to wilful misinterpretation. He’s not said he will only sign if Wenger does nor is he outright asking for that. He’s not even demanding that they appoint x,y, and z in Wenger’s place either. What he wants to know is (a) what is Arsène planning and (b) are the club ready – as in do they have a robust succession plan – to hunt for a replacement if he walks away.

But Mesut, what price loyalty?

Özil is 28 years-old and this is probably his last contract where he will hold the whip hand in negotiations. The next deal will happen when he is past 30; age always counts against players at that point, or at least at Arsenal it does. So Mesut asked what’s happening with the manager, a natural step.

I do wonder if the position with his own contract is why Wenger isn’t going into the transfer market this winter; he hasn’t made up his mind where his future lies and can’t tell potential signings if he’ll be here in six months. And I don’t think the manager knows the answer himself either. While his natural inclination may be to renew, he knows that the pressure is intensifying. Possibly, he’s waiting to see if there are more protests this season and whether there is more of a feeling in the stadium that the crowd is become increasingly ambivalent toward him?

Remember the likes of Fabregas, Clichy, Adebayor and van Persie? I bet Arsène does. They pledged allegiance and professed love of the emperor but as soon as it became obvious that his new clothes were rather threadbare, they skedaddled to where they thought the grass was greener. And so it proved to be, with all of them winning more medals in their time after Arsenal than they did whilst at the club.

Whilst he will appreciate the supportive tone of Özil’s words, I doubt he’ll place any great store by it.

Who knows what’s going on

 

The simple truth is that Arsenal are stagnating, reaching the same plateau as the mid-90s where nothing the then-manager did made a blind bit of difference in the Premier League. We haven’t dropped to mid-table but out of the top four? That’s more of a possibility this season as (at present) we’re not just reliant on Spurs bottling it; we’re one of five teams fighting for three places.

I thought Arsène’s time as manager at the club was over four years ago. Personally, I’d have ridden off in a blaze of glory after the Hull FA Cup win. Now, we may come full circle in his reign and heading toward a fifth-placed finish, the position we occupied at the end of the season before he joined. My OCD finds that somehow reassuring even if my football side finds it disturbing.

The question in his mind has to be whether we can win the title again? Not with this squad or not with this squad following his tactical scheme. It’s a very good squad, don’t get me wrong, and arguably the best since we were last crowned champions but other clubs have moved on, become wealthier by fair means or foul, and there’s more competition.

No-one has a god-given right to win the title but by the same token, we do – with the money the club rakes in – expect them to challenge. That’s not entitlement, it’s the bald facts of football’s hyperbole. Past bragging about being able to compete with the likes of Bayern Munich have yet to come to fruition. With the current combination of manager and board, they are unlikely to.

Will Alexis follow Mesut’s lead?

I wonder if we’ll see a similar question posed by Alexis. If that happens, Wenger will be forced into action. He’s certainly going to spend time on Friday at his presser answering questions from the media. At the moment, they can batted away but not for long. Spring will soon be sprung and a decision made by Wenger.

There’s no point in believing the board will take it out of his hands; they’ve made it abundantly clear that they cannot do so. Nor do they want to. Stan likes Wenger’s approach because it protects his investment, Ivan & co because he takes their flak. A new man won’t necessarily do either as willingly.

2016 was a poxy year as far as I’m concerned. The new playlist remembers Billy Franks whose death last year was largely ignored by the mainstream media.

’til Tomorrow.

144 thoughts on “Mesut Özil’s contract: Give us a sign!

  1. andy1886:
    FinnishHit,

    “No, not a tragicomic era for the club, but the whole world. Think Trump and Brexit. People in this stage of the real-time media age seem to prefer change, even when it leads to jumping into the completely unknown.”

    I just wanted to point out that appointing AW in ’96 was very much “jumping into the completely unknown” and I suspect that looking back you’d say that it wasn’t a bad thing at all?

    Correct. I was more discussing into the current social media culture. I don’t think Brexit and Trump could have happened in 1996.

    Mind you, I never came back to your comment on January 4, 2017 at 11:50 pm, because of work, but now I’ve got the flu. 😉

    I would take Klopp when AW quits, and his methods have been discussed today. Simeone, no way, his mental approach is Argentine Underdog Mental Aggression Bite, I just don’t think he would fit in Arsenal. I’d guess he will prefer Italy next anyway.

    You had two good current names on the list, but surely you’ve suggested some other names before … that don’t sound as good today.

    Your preferred current XI was good (and I’m not questioning your knowledge anyway), personally I’d change two names but my point of the exercise was that these discussions could go on forever.

    So when I see someone/almost everyone complaining (the most annoying habit here at ALCF) about a player or the manager, I’m always curious: what would that person change? After that, look back at the suggestions and opinions you had a month ago, a year ago, and the changes of opinion you’ll have in the future.

    To me, that speculation, when driven by negativism and even some real occasional setbacks, is a waste of time for most of us.

    Although from a person’s psychological mindset, it is one way to vent your frustrations of all things in life. As a great coach in another sport once said: “If it stops them beating their wives and children, let them shout and jeer as much as they need to”.

    (Not the perfect solution, but let’s leave it at that for now.)

  2. FinnishHit @ 7:24

    Arsene has been the beneficiary of more patience and been given more freedom and time to build the club his way then any other big team manager this century.

    Dukey

    If we don’t like the term “depth chart” you can substitute the term “pecking order”.

  3. FinnishHit,

    Football fans have been around much longer than the internet and the tendancy to have a moan or even a rant about the team’s performance post-match has gone on for years. The conversations in the pub after a game have always been lovely if the performance has been poor, not just from Arsenal fans either. So the extended comments on the blogsphere are so ply an extension of that. Fans from the same club will always have differing opinions about the club and the players. Whether those opinions are expressed on the internet, or over a pint makes little difference.

  4. Jonny,

    My best straw man argument in a while, I’m almost proud. 🙂 But I don’t think Liverpool is weak because of this season’s net transfer spend. They culled out 78m of deadwood not fitting into Klopp’s plans and bought with 62m. And they still pay most of Balotelli’s wages.

  5. Bill:
    FinnishHit @ 7:24

    Arsene has been the beneficiary of more patience and been given more freedom and time to build the club his way then any other big team manager this century.

    Yes, so let us praise the WhatEver! What a stadium, what infrastructure, what stability, what culture, what…

    The big What-If will always be: what would it have been like if extraordinary amounts of external money hadn’t changed the sport? We will not know, but today at least we have better odds, thanks to the big man.

  6. Southampton away in the FA Cup is a chance for Wenger to prepare and test a plan for a tough way game. We’ll have many of such games. Also it’s a chance for a revange for the dreadfull Leage Cup defeat. Who says I can not think positively?

  7. I wonder what the narrative would be if Arsene doesn’t sign, we get a new manaher and saif manager wins the PL in his first season?!!?

  8. FinnishHit

    Most of the things you are praising such as the stadium and holding on to 4th during the early Emirates era were all things that everyone is grateful to Arsene but that was almost all in the prior decade. Our financial stability and financial situation improved around the start of this decade and our results should have followed suit. However, the results in the big competitions including the PL and CL have clearly been worse in this decade. We should be seeing some more evidence of forward progress by now.

    Everyone agrees that Arsene deserves a lifetime achievement award for what he did. However, if the evidence suggests that he is not the best option to lead the club into the new era of wealth then he should not be entitled to an unlimited appointment as manager for as long as he wants.

  9. Wavey,

    Yes, moaning is natural. But now the weird guys at the pub (and the ones who have been left out) are getting their voices heard more, even getting elected POTUS, instead of getting politely ignored. I slightly exaggerate, of course.

    I’ve had the fortune of living in a country that had conscription when I was 20. Fortune, indeed! As we know, people start to “disintegrate” after primary school into different groups. In some countries they don’t even go to primary schools as equal, random groups of children. So it was a blessing in disguise back in the 80’s to get one final “snapshot” of all Finnish males, be a part of a cross-section of the society. Back then, I learned that people differ hugely from each other than what your own bubble contains (as they say these days).

    This is what’s happening in democracy now, with social media bubbles and equal voting rights. As for football, I now prefer the steady hands-off Kroenke model instead of the MyFootballClub experiment. Been there, done that. 😉

  10. You could argue that Arsene is the reason the club is in the financial position it is today so that whomever is the next manager is will have the right situation to succeed. His greatness would be magnified even more if he is able to recognize when he has hit the ceiling with his ability to get results and know the proper time to call it quits

  11. Bill:
    if the evidence suggests that he is not the best option to lead the club into the new era of wealth then he should not be entitled to an unlimited appointment as manager for as long as he wants.

    And that is the great conundrum. Is he past it, or is he not? Have we seen any glaring mistakes in his team leadership – I personally don’t think so, yet, because of evidence. (And yes, I too struggle sometimes with his tactical decisions and choices, but who/what am I to say. I’m only [hoping to be] on even terms with everyone else here at ACLF.)

  12. FinnishHit:
    Jonny,

    My best straw man argument in a while, I’m almost proud. But I don’t think Liverpool is weak because of this season’s net transfer spend. They culled out 78m of deadwood not fitting into Klopp’s plans and bought with 62m. And they still pay most of Balotelli’s wages.

    The sound of ‘barrel scraping’.

  13. I’m reminded that change can be good or bad, there are no guarantees. A new manager may not bring success, but then the incumbent has done a whole lot in the past 12 years on the field. A couple of FA Cups, that in isolation enough to warrant another extension?

    I’m at the point where any chance, good or bad would at least make a change from our perpetual groundshog day.

  14. FinnishHit

    Fair or not the results in the big competitions are measuring stick used to judge big team managers. No one could deny that our financial situation has significantly improved in this decade but our results in those big competitions has been worse then even the early Emirates era. Its not a small sample size any more. I would argue that strongly suggests Arsene has hit his ceiling and there is no evidence to suggest forward progress so far this year. What other possible evidence do you need?

  15. Finnish – which, if any, Liverpool players would you covet for our best eleven?
    Which would you sign to bolster our squad (money no consideration)?

  16. Miami

    Change comes with risk. If someone is happy with the current status quo and they are willing to accept the current ceiling to our results as long as Arsene is the manager or if they think Arsene deserves to stay as manager for as long as he wants because of the everything he has done in the past then more power to him. There is not a single instruction book for what a fan should want.

    Where I will disagree is if someone tried to make the case that no other manager could have done better in this decade and we are still making forward progress on the pitch and giving arsene another 2-3 year contract is still the best way to improve our results

  17. Glad to see several here giving Coquelin a vote of confidence.

    He has been one of my favorite players since his full time return to the club and partners with anyone in midfield – agree, beautifully with Santi- all generally improve with him.

    There seems to be a recurring strain of ‘put down’ on him which is never warranted (stats wise)…I simply presume it down to him being out of Wenger’s affection for a while ( so what in my book) and the fact he cost nothing to bring back from Charlton.

    We often talk about the lack of leaders on the pitch but Coquelin is full of passion and drive game in and out and a year ago (in yet another captaincy discussion) I said Coquelin would fit the role but Wenger would never consider it (or some fans) yet at away games the hashtag re Coquelin developed “give him the armband already”.

    Regarding Perez –

    Perez has added precisely what some thought he might. He brings vitality to the team.

    He was a fans favorite at Deportivo because of his energy, positivity and creativity (which was exhibited on and off the pitch).

    He is a fully realized, complete player – he is not one who is going to shrink from games, lose his nerve or one we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.

    Is he a 20 plus goals a season squad addition – no – but this wilfully misses the point of such players in my opinion.

    Welbeck, Perez and Campbell are all cast in a similar vein…quick in body and mind, great fundamentals and genuine creativity. They excel in their support role to the attack – they stretch and pull defenses apart, create opportunities for others. I love these players because they are less heralded but as essential as the ‘star’ striker .

    Additionally, all three have a capacity and desire to defend from the front which is head and shoulders rivals.

    Perez has so far been on the same questionable loop that Campbell was on, that Elneny was on (until injuries forced Wengers hand) and the time has come for regular inclusion. As I advocate for rotation (Bill, it’s a mental as well as physical game) all I would ask for is equal opportunity.

    If fighting for a top four slot, I want the best resources bought to bear and Perez is patently a more productive, creative and reliable player than Oxlade Chamberlain. As we now have Danny Welbeck also back in the fold, The Ox should simply play a lesser role for the foreseeable future.

  18. Jonny,

    Interesting question. Maybe we should ask the Liverpool supporters the vice versa? I’ll admit to not following their games this season. My suggestions looking back at transfer prices:

    Sakho cost almost twice as much as Kos, so he must be better. Sturridge cost more than OG, so definitely. Nathaniel Clyne cost so much more than Hector Bellerín, so why not? Jordan Henderson, in the medium price of Ramsey and Xhaka. Wijnaldum at 23m in exchange for the four of Coq, Santi, Iwobi and Elneny, certainly!

    There are many ways to examine things, and the majority of us choose to make conclusions based on our preferred mindsets. Reverse engineering is another form of hindsight, good or bad.

    I left out Coutinho, because even as an Arsenalite I would really really believe he could fit in…

  19. Jonny,

    I would take Firmini personally over Ox and Iwobi; since he is only 25, I might take him over Perez or Theo pair with Ozil and Sanchez right now

  20. FinnishHit,

    I would take Wijnaldum over Jack, Ramsey as well as Ox right now and moving forward. That lad not only is brilliantly consistent but is growing as a player.

  21. -DFS:
    Glad to see several here giving Coquelin a vote of confidence.

    He has been one of my favorite players since his full time return to the club and partners with anyone in midfield – agree, beautifully with Santi-all generally improve with him.

    There seems to be a recurring strain of ‘put down’ on him which is never warranted (stats wise)…I simply presume it down to him being out of Wenger’s affection for a while ( so what in my book) and the fact he cost nothing to bring back from Charlton.

    We often talk about the lack of leaders on the pitch but Coquelin is full of passion and drive game in and out and a year ago (in yet another captaincy discussion) I said Coquelin would fit the role but Wenger would never consider it (or some fans) yet at away games the hashtag re Coquelin developed “give him the armband already”.

    Regarding Perez –

    Perez has added precisely what some thought he might. He brings vitality to the team.

    He was a fans favorite at Deportivo because of his energy, positivity and creativity (which was exhibited on and off the pitch).

    He is a fully realized, complete player – he is not one who is going to shrink from games, lose his nerve or one we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.

    Is he a 20 plus goals a season squad addition – no – but this wilfully misses the point of such players in my opinion.

    Welbeck, Perez and Campbell are all cast in a similar vein…quick in body and mind, great fundamentals and genuine creativity. They excel in their support role to the attack – they stretch and pull defenses apart, create opportunities for others. I love these players because they are less heralded but as essential as the ‘star’ striker .

    Additionally, all three have a capacity and desire to defend from the front which is head and shoulders rivals.

    Perez has so far been on the same questionable loop that Campbell was on, that Elneny was on (until injuries forced Wengers hand) and the time has come for regular inclusion. As I advocate for rotation (Bill, it’s a mental as well as physical game) all I would ask for is equal opportunity.

    If fighting for a top four slot, I want the best resources bought to bear and Perez is patently a more productive, creative and reliable player than Oxlade Chamberlain. As we now have Danny Welbeck also back in the fold, The Ox should simply play a lesser role for the foreseeable future.

    Good post.

  22. I deliberately removed the money part of the equation.

    You’re an eel Finnish. A damnable eel. 😀

    FinnishHit:
    Jonny,

    Interesting question. Maybe we should ask the Liverpool supporters the vice versa? I’ll admit to not following their games this season. My suggestions looking back at transfer prices:

    Sakho cost almost twice as much as Kos, so he must be better.Sturridge cost more than OG, so definitely. Nathaniel Clyne cost so much more than Hector Bellerín, so why not? Jordan Henderson, in the medium price of Ramsey and Xhaka. Wijnaldum at 23m in exchange for the four of Coq, Santi, Iwobi and Elneny, certainly!

    There are many ways to examine things, and the majority of us choose to make conclusions based on our preferred mindsets. Reverse engineering is another form of hindsight, good or bad.

    I left out Coutinho, because even as an Arsenalite I would really really believe he could fit in…

  23. I’d take Milner for the squad.

    I’d take a fit Sturridge too.

    Regardless it’s not many, not even among us.

  24. Finnish – I reckon most Liverpool fans would take our back 5 in a heartbeat.

    They would take Sanchez too, and many would take Ozil.

    Coquelin, quite probably.

    Santi? Some would.

  25. I’d take Mane , Sturridge and Coutinho. I’d take Firmino on one condition, That he cuts off that bloody stupid man bun, otherwise forget it.

  26. Dukey:
    I’d take Mane , Sturridge and Coutinho.I’d take Firmino on one condition, That he cuts off that bloody stupid man bun, otherwise forget it.

    Sensible policies for a better Britain.

  27. Jonny,
    Jonny,

    “Finnish – I reckon most Liverpool fans would take our back 5 in a heartbeat.”

    It’s another part of evolving a team, profession at the manager job. Or maybe AW is just lucky, like the last time around he was… 🙂 Although Wenger himself got the idea that the fullbacks back then weren’t paid enough, made them move forwawrd, and kept them together longer than we would have thought.

    But maybe Wenger only recently lost it. Right after he fixed the current back 5. Then he lost it. Yeah.

    Nights to everyone.

  28. EelFin,

    So if AW got it so right why are we down on points and performance to a lesser team?

    I applaud AW for his signings. Kos was a masterstroke – ditto Bellerin and Nacho.

    Why have we underperformed given this pregnancy of riches?

  29. FinnishHit,

    No one questions what Wenger did in his first decade in charge. He did inherit a very strong back line, but he brought in Sol Campbell as replacement for Tony Adams so he clearly had an eye for a strong CB. And Lauren was a great buy as he got on with his job and maybe went under the radar.

    Since then the back four purchases have generally been a disaster as Wenger seemed to focus much more on the players further forward, seeming to believe that if we could get the goals then the defence would look after itself. We have had some absolute howlers come in, especially at CB. Yes, he has spotted the odd gem, like Kos, but Kos was then required to do too much in covering for the poor player usually dumped next to him. In the past couple of seasons Wenger seems to have focussed on the defence again bringing in Per to play alongside Kos initially, but then spotting a player with potential in Gabriel and picking up Mustafi. Gabriel is still developing, but he is much better than some of the absolute pony we have had playing in the back four. Holding looks like a solid CB for the future and I think Chambers could come good as he seems to be developing nicely at ‘Boro.

  30. Ditto this

    Word for word

    Dukey:
    I’d take Mane , Sturridge and Coutinho.I’d take Firmino on one condition, That he cuts off that bloody stupid man bun, otherwise forget it.

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