The Ozil deal

Posted by Sam Limbert

With Arsenal fans on a high following the stirring 1-0 win in the North London derby, they could afford some cautious optimism going into transfer deadline day. Despite the joy with which Gooners were able to remind visiting Spurs fans of the score line despite spending no money on Sunday, they all knew that Arsene Wenger had to add to his squad before the end of the window following a frugal summer.

At the final whistle on Sunday, even in the euphoric state that all Arsenal fans were in, most wouldn't have believed that Mesut Ozil would join the club the next day. Despite the rumours and the proclamations about the money available to spend, it just seemed too un-Arsenal-like to actually go out and complete one of these blockbuster transfers. However, a 50 million euro deal with Real Madrid for their German playmaker has smashed the Gunners' transfer record and made the past 48 hours unreservedly awesome for Arsenal fans.

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There are certain moments in history when you remember exactly where you were when it happened. Arsenal fans will be able to tell you exactly what they were doing when they first heard Dennis Bergkamp signed for the club. The same applies to Ozil. Not since the Dutchman arrived have Arsenal signed a player who really makes the fans' jaws drop on seeing the news. Ozil is a world-class player who has his peak ahead of him, and he's joined Arsenal.

There have been some understandable critics querying why Arsenal need an attacking midfield. In a squad that looks so threadbare, the centre of midfield is an area in which Arsenal are well stocked. However, there is no doubt that Ozil is an improvement on the options Arsenal have in that area of the pitch. Anyone who doesn't want to see how Ozil links up with Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and others either hates football or just hates Arsenal.

Given this is an unprecedented piece of spending from Arsenal, this next point might seem strange. However, if there was ever a Wenger way of spending more than £40 million, then this is it. Ozil will fit straight into the team in his style of play and is a player Arsenal have tracked before. When compared to the other player Arsenal were willing to pay £40 million for, I suspect most Gooners will be much happier with Ozil over Suarez. He isn't the out-and-out striker that the squad still needs, but the German seems like less of a liability compared to Suarez. He comes into the Premier League with no baggage and with his best years ahead of him.

The envy of some Manchester United fans is a sign that this is a real coup from Wenger. Their failed pursuits for various creative midfielders show that signing these top players isn't as simple as it's often made out to be in the media. Arsenal shouldn't feel left behind in the transfer market now with the addition of Ozil, as they have done in the past few seasons.

At this point, I would like to thank Tottenham Hotspur. While I think there were deals Wenger could and should have gotten done earlier in the transfer window, he did maintain that things would happen in the market generally near the deadline. Gareth Bale's move to Madrid has undoubtedly caused the domino effect of the club being willing to let Ozil go. Had Spurs resisted Madrid, I can't see how Ozil to Arsenal would have materialised. So after losing the North London derby, Spurs have also lost their best player and inadvertently helped Arsenal make one of their most exciting signings ever.

Despite Bale's arrival, I'm still surprised that Real were willing to part with their German playmaker. He has performed consistently in La Liga, has a bucketload of assists and has plenty of time to develop further as a player. The way their fans were singing for him not to be sold while Bale was unveiled spoke volumes of how highly he was rated by the Madrid supporters. The fact Madrid have sold one of their stars also shows that maybe financial fair play is in the back of the minds of clubs now. Having wanted it for so long, Wenger could now be making use of it.

There will be a different kind of pressure on Ozil at Arsenal. He was part of a galaxy of stars at Real Madrid, but he will be the main man at Arsenal. Fans are rightly delighted at his signing, but there is a lot of expectation for the money that's been paid. Being a world-class player, the hope is that Ozil will thrive under that pressure.

In the excitement about Ozil's arrival, Emiliano Viviano signed on loan to compete with Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski for the goalkeeper's jersey. He's not the top-class keeper some were hoping for, but it would have been harsh on Szczesny to have signed one after his past few performances. Hopefully Viviano will provide enough competition to not let the Pole get complacent.

There were rumours about Demba Ba arriving on loan from Chelsea, and he'd have provided good competition for the in-form Olivier Giroud, but unfortunately that fell through. With Ozil's arrival, it means Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski (when fit) could be utilised as a central striker again.

There could be holes later in the season, especially up front or in defence, but for the moment I'm off to run around outside and wave my arms around like an excitable child. Arsenal have signed a world-class player. Better late than never, Arsene.


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