That’s Your Umlaut: We’ve Got Özil…

Your club just spent £50m+ and the best the media can do is promote the notion you’re going to lose your star player next summer. Chelsea fans, welcome to our world.

Not that I care. Indeed, I’d welcome Hazard leaving because Pulisic is definitely a downgrade at the moment. He may not be in the future but right now, he is.

Which segues nicely into our star player, Mesut Özil. He is the star if you define it by pay packet. Of course, if it’s down to performances, he isn’t but that’s splitting hairs. Define it how you want but for this piece, it’s a segue.

His agent issued a definitive statement which said Mesut is going nowhere. 150 words to say “You’ve got Özil, Mesut Özil, now get over it”:

I would prefer not to speak publicly about Mesut’s situation, but given the recent speculation linking him with a move away from Arsenal, I do feel it is important to provide some clarity so we can end this and focus on football.

Mesut signed a new contract last January because he saw his future at Arsenal and nothing has changed in his mind. He want to stay for the duration of that contract and maybe even longer.

Mesut is 100 per cent committed to Arsenal Football Club. He loves the club, shares its values and does not want to be anywhere else.

[Mesut] is proud to wear the shirt and honoured to represent Arsenal on and off the pitch. He takes his responsibilities – including being selected as one of the captains this season – very seriously, and has a great relationship with his team-mates, the staff and fans.

Of course his future is at Arsenal. At £350k per week, I’d be content to see out my contract.

Distant Echoes

The last paragraph opens him up to some questions. Ridicule, as well, given his, ahem, injury record. In the past decade, it’s been the club on the receiving end when a player decided to leave – Flamini, Fabregas, etc. – occasionally with the likes of Almunia, the other way around.

The situation resonates with those of us old enough to remember how George Graham eased Charlie Nicholas out of the club. Are Arsenal doing the same with Mesut Özil? Certainly, the talk of a loan spell somewhere was too quickly and unnecessarily rebuffed.

There are few constants in modern football beyond bad refereeing and media speculation. Denials only serve to fuel the latter, no matter the truth or otherwise. And in a transfer window, speculation is the food of life. Few people take notice of media chatter except to lose their minds on Twitter. It is their minds they lose and certainly not their virginity.

All the while Özil is suffering from ‘injuries’, speculation will continue. Back spasms, knee problems? I do hope his mum is writing notes asking Mr Emery if he can be excused games.

Therein is the issue. He isn’t playing well when he is in the side or not as well as he has done previously. When you delve into ‘pre-assists’ to justify a player, you know he isn’t on top of his game. Unai Emery made it clear early on that reputations mean nothing and the XI is built on form. It’s safe to say Emery doesn’t trust Özil, a situation which never bodes well for a player.

The reality of Özil, as is evident with Germany, is that in a good side, one which is ‘flying’, he is a great player to have. In one which is struggling for consistency, he’s a luxury.

Hitting the Sales

He strikes me as a player who won’t easily fit into Unai Emery’s footballing philosophy. Özil isn’t lazy on the pitch but he also isn’t defensively-minded. You ought not expect him to be either; he is an offensive weapon but at the moment, blunt.

The statement from his agent made me question where Özil’s career is going? As I mentioned before, it was unnecessary and strikes me that he is desperate to stop his client being eased out of the club. The problem is that Özil is one of the few players we have for whom a sizeable fee could be raised. Even then, his current form is damaging that.

While it’s always a pleasure to watch a footballer of his talent in action, the talent is not always evident and these days, he’s rarely inaction; inactive, certainly.

Maybe, just maybe, the injuries are genuine and he’s been playing through the pain barrier. However, club utterances never mention these in the injury round-up and Unai Emery isn’t convincing at his press conferences. Could it be confirmation bias pointing me in those directions? Time will tell.

Özil needs a big second half of the season to convince me that we shouldn’t be looking to move him on next summer. I suspect Unai Emery is thinking along similar lines, that £350k per week can be better utilised. There are others as well – Mkhitaryan, for example – who aren’t delivering consistently.

June through August 2019 feels like it will be a tumultuous transfer window.

’til Tomorrow

42 thoughts on “That’s Your Umlaut: We’ve Got Özil…

  1. It must be tempting when you consider the half a million a week we’d save if we moved on Mikki and Ozil, something that Stan might take note of. On current form the cost in points would be minimal, maybe even no cost at all. Again there are a lot of parallels to the start of the Graham era, shame there is no obvious youth production line of the caliber there was back then waiting to emerge. That said I wouldn’t be adverse to the likes of Smith-Rowe being eased into PL games. On the flip side Graham managed to find rough diamonds in the lower leagues too and that’s still possible (see Alli for example).

    Bottom line is that as a club with no money (despite having a higher turnover than Chelsea and Liverpool) we have to be smarter in the market than we have been recently.

  2. I do think Emery needs to find a way to play Ozil. Ancient history but I think he could of made a difference at Man U a couple of wks ago if fit. I also think Ozil plays best with Lacca starting. Lacca instinctively tracks back and tries to win ball high up the pitch which takes a bit of heat off the German.

  3. Wailesy,

    Certainly if we’re stuck with him then it would be adding insult to injury not to try and make it work. Ultimately though Emery has to put what he believes to be the best team on the pitch rather than try to shoe-horn in the supposed best players into a side that is dysfunctional.

    Unfortunately this is what you get when a club pays over the odds to keep a player and ‘protect the brand’ rather then make decisions purely on footballing criteria.

  4. Neither Mikhi or Ozil are what we need. Mikhi has been a huge disappointment. He is so weak – mentally and physically – he looks like a lost boy on the pitch at times. That’s not too disimilar to Ozil. Neither have the necessary fight, aggression or defensive mindedness to play under Emery.

    Last January’s transfer window involving Mikhi and Sanchez must be the worst since the Veron/Mendieta merry-go-round in 2002. Add Ozil’s crazy contract and it has proved to be an utter disaster for us. Over £500k a week on Mikhi and Ozil? We are well shot of dross like Wenger and Gazidis – that was their final act of sabotage. Stan just sat and watched. How is this possible at a
    Arsenal? Auba has been great however this seemed to be a Sven signing.

    Getting rid of both as well as numerous other players who are either past it, crocks or never good enough has to be the priority. Wenger tried to even take credit for the 22 match unbeaten run -saying that people who thought that the squad needed massive overhaul were proved wrong. This man is an utter disgrace. Wenger inherited a squad of champions who had lost their way and Bergkamp and Wright. Who has Emery inherited from Wenger – Bellerin, Laca alongside Xhaka, Mustafi and perhaps Iwobi as well as two colossally expensive has-beens. The rest have been sold or will be let go for free in the summer.

    I doubt that Wenger would have won half the trophies he did without George’s defence and Bergkamp.

  5. The great defence of George Graham finished 6th and 12th prior to Wengers arrival. He added Overmars,Petit and Anelka in 1998. Wenger had his issues but lets not re write history..the idea he would of won less trophies without that defence is patently absurd! He also inherited some garbage!!

  6. You bring up an excellent point Yogi that I think in English futbol gets blurred: not being defensive minded means your lazy. I have been talking to some of my mates who support other clubs and they often say the same about some of their more high profile attacking players. The odd thing for me is, and its not even specific to Ozil, but defending isn’t purely about tracking back but man marking in certain positions. For instance, you want your #10 to sit on the other teams pivot who does the link work, sure it won’t get the headlines but it forces them to play a different way and can disrupt the way they play.

    Maybe just maybe Ozil is actually injured (it wouldn’t be the first time for Arsenal he has played through a knee injury only for him to actually need time to rest) and the rest will do him good. The thing though ultimately is that during our unbeaten run, Ozil played and helped the side in quite a numbe of those matches and I think the Bournemouth match sort of changed people’s mind. Not physical enough for Bournemouth but played well against Liverpool and a much more physical Leicester side…

  7. Also what is interesting is the Ramsey situation because sure he scored but he hasn’t been effective nor does he seem to fit. Him going to Juve is a head scratcher too because he isn’t getting into that XI ahead of Khederia, Pjanic, Matuidi or Bentacur so I’m not sure where he fits there. In the #10, well he isn’t in the same class as Dybala either.

  8. I agree with George’s defence and Bergkamp, also Overmars,Petit and Anelka. The problem with Wenger started after 2004,when he assumed that he was indispensable, and Kronke’s arrival , and his philosophy of considering AFC as merely an asset helped to accentuate the Wenger’s supremacy. There we had an owner who was happy to keep the Club in PL, and the CL up to a stage for cash purposes which meant construction of new stadium and thus did not care for major trophies. The all powerful Wenger thus stayed put and destroyed the club from then on. That is recent history.

  9. Andy

    There are players in the lower leagues worth looking at. Brookes at Bournemouth, Maddison at Leicester immediately spring to mind but the gap between the lower divisions and top flight is bigger than ever before. I don’t think there are many who can make the leap from League 1 and 2 anymore.

  10. Great post yogi. Accurate and balanced as always.

    Ozil has always been a defensive liability. Even when he was at his best for Madrid, Mourinho almost always substituted for him in the latter portion of games when they were ahead. He has always been a flair player whose only really responsibility is to hang out in the attacking 1/3 and make that brilliant final pass and create assists for his goal scorers. No expects him to be a decent defensive player and no one would care about his tracking back or playing defense as long as he using his abundant technical skill to make the other attacking players more effective. Unfortunately he is no longer effective on the attacking end and has not been consistently effective for more then 2 years. He is still a defensive liability and no longer effective on the attacking end so there is no reason to give him regular minutes.

  11. YW,

    Probably not too many but there are the occasional anomalies (even six years ago who would have predicted Vardy coming out of the Conference to win a title with Leicester?). Certainly there must be one or two in the Championship worth looking at though, Liverpool picked up Andy Robertson from Hull for peanuts a couple of years back and as C pointed out we passed on van Dijk when he was at Celtic.

  12. Yogi, I think that I would agree with your sentiments, that moving Ozil on in the summer would be the best for Emery’s team. Football is a two way sport. Miss one part of that process and a player diminishes his effectiveness.

  13. andy1886,

    Right now, with Ramsey looking likely to head to Juve, I would swap him right now for either the CB Rugani or midfielder Bentacur, Torriera’s running mate in the Uruguay midfield. There are certainly players out there and surely Mislintat and Sanllehi are poking and prodding. Another find might be Denis Suarez from Barca for 14m would be an absolute steal.

  14. Ozil, even when he’s not playing, continues to be a topic of fascination. Too bad his agent didn’t shed light on why, even when fully fit, he continues to disappoint. And why, with his career declining, a top six club would want him?
    So he wants to stay at Arsenal forever – fine. But under what circumstances? With lacklustre performances? With declining assists? With increasing unavailability? And as a heavy drag on the coffers?
    I don’t imagine the agent would volunteer that information but the question needs to be asked. And answered.

  15. @Bill

    You ALWAYS bang on about goal scorers are the most important players on the pitch….ask Citeh and Barca (sure Messi is the best player but I said most important) just how MASSIVE Fernandinho and Busquets!!!

    It why I say, Torriera is the most important player for us.

  16. The City-Pool game is an object lesson in intensity + skill + cohesion. No score yet at 39 mins but fantastically entertaining. We’ll get there again one of these days.

    No – wait a minute – Aguero scores a nigh-impossible goal. Game on.

  17. C

    No way you can seriously be suggesting that Busquets or Fernandinho have been more important to their clubs results then Messi or Aguero??

  18. Bill,

    They bring a balance to their team. Look at the way those teams play, Buquets and Fernandinho are left in midfield to to balance their sides and are tremendous. Again, all you see if goals scored but what happens when those players don’t score, those players are MASSIVE to not only defending but dictating the play.

    Who won the golden boot last season in the PL, did that players club win the PL? Who won the title? What was the ONE constant in Citeh’s struggles this season?

  19. There are dozens and dozens of midfielders around the world who can bring balance to a side like Barca or city but there are is no one in the world who can bring Barca what Messi does and probably less then 5 strikers in the world who could bring city the goals that Aguero has over the years.

    If city had someone other then Fernandinho in their line up today the score would probably be 1-0 however if someone other then Aguero was in City’s lineup the score would still be 0-0. Which one is the bigger difference maker?

  20. Bill,

    And that’s why sometimes mate, you make ABSOLUTELY no sense and why I struggle to chat with you.

    You nuts, if Busquets wasn’t so valuable to to Barca then why, is ONLY MESSI’S release clause higher? If Fernandinho wasn’t so important then why did Citeh lose the midfield despite having Aguero in their team!

    FFS mate, think about the INVINCIBLES…for all the talk of Henry and Bergkamp, who are the 2 players that we have missed and have UNIVERSALLY been saying we missed: yup Vieira and Silva. Kane has been banging goals for fun and he has won, say it with me, “FUCK ALL!!!!”

    Busquets is bar none, the best DM in the world and Fernandinho is a BRILLIANT DM and top 5 in Europe. If it was so simple to balance sides with DM’s then why are they so coveted?

  21. consolsbob,

    2019 and still going strong.

    Shame is, most of it comes down to me spending time trying tk convince him that sure, goals are important but FFS their are other positions on the field. Its actually kind of funny that Kane won the Golden Boot in the World Cup and Salah in the PL and yet neither won Fuck all…..

  22. I am certainly off the opinion that City wouldn’t be nearly as effective without Fernandinho and would probably concede quite a bit more. But there is no reason to ever try to de-emphasize Aguero’s value—he is top class as a striker. Wonderful player.

  23. I am not suggesting that a DM is not important but lots of players can do a good job in that position, however there are only a few players in the world who can consistency score goals. Why else is it so difficult to build your own goal scorer or find a really good one in the transfer market. On average there are slightly more then 2 goals scored in every football match and if you have a player who is really good at scoring 1 of those goals for your team then he is going to be the most influential individual player on the pitch in almost any game. That seems like a complete no brainer to me.

  24. LSG,

    I’m not de-emphasizing Aguero because for me, he is still the best striker in the PL, but Fernandinho allpws everybody else to do what they do because he is so brilliant.

    If it was as easy as Bill is making it seem that Klopp wouldn’t have spent 40m on Fabinho, Spuds would have won something, Kante wouldn’t have won back to back PL titles by being the missing piece on both squads.

  25. I’ve finally figured it out:
    Bill is old school English route 1/Tony Pulis/Stoke/2 strikers 8 defenders 1 GK/lump it futbol

    I am more Joga Bonito/Samba/modern/Pep/classic Brasilian futbol pure sexy futbol!

  26. For those that love a great story and love Santi….he grabbed a brace against Madrid as be continues to play well now that he is fully fit.

    Never have I enjoyed watching a player play simply because he loves and plays with a smile that brings joy to your heart!

  27. Or it could be you’re just a fan boy C and Bill is a realist!

    Where’s today’s post Yogi!?

  28. Cazorla upsetting Madrid has to be the best story from last night. I think both C and Bill have valid points. A goal scorer is worth their weight in gold. But a great defensive midfielder underpins the team and allows the attackers to do what they do best. It’s true that when the truly great DM’s are missing from their teams those teams do not perform as well. However, I understand Bill’s point, asides from the likes of Busquets, Fernandinho, Kante etc. How many teams actually benefit from having a DM rather than a goal scorer. I know what Ferguson, Warnock, Benitez, Wenger etc would buy first. A goal scorer. Ask any manager C and find out for yourself.

  29. C,

    Look at some of Arsenal’s goals when Dave Seaman would punt the ball right up the pitch to Wrighty-he’d let it bounce,latch onto it,invariably get round the defender and boom!

  30. Ozil is here to stay.

    At 30 years old he could never get a deal as good as the one he has and even if a team matched his current salary, it would be for a year or two, not his current four.

    Which teams can afford £350k per week for an on form only player? Certainly not the teams that are always on form. Players who are getting older don’t mind sitting out games, it helps them, and for that sort of money why would he want to move from a team that is heading up whether he plays or not?

    His deal was designed to keep him at Arsenal, and stay he will.

    Attachment

  31. I would take Rambo over Mkhitaryan or most of the midfield, but I think they know that Ozil stays.

    Part of the withdrawal of Rambo’s contract is because we can’t tie ourselves to two players who are so hot and cold and demand top wages.

  32. C,

    Oh I’m aware of how we played C…..like a lot of posters on here I’ve been following my team for decades(myself since ‘71).

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