On September 2, 2013, Arsenal made one of the most significant moves in the transfer market they’d ever made.
In forking out £42m for Real Madrid’s Mesut Ozil, they not only surpassed their previous record by some £27m, but they also bought one of the most exciting players in world football.
Ozil was at the peak of his powers, having won La Liga and the Copa Del Rey with Los Blancos. He’d become an integral part of the Germany international squad, helping to eliminate England from the 2010 World Cup.
He was one of the most exciting talents in the world and a move to Arsenal signalled the Gunners’ transition from thrifty misers to a big spending and ambitious outfit.
Over the course of the next five years, Ozil served them and Germany superbly. He lifted the World Cup in 2014 with his country and although European success eluded Arsenal, Ozil was a driving force behind them winning three FA Cups.
Ozil by Антон Зайцев (CC BY-SA 3.0)
The diminutive German was born in Gelsenkirchen and is third generation Turkish-German. He’s always been staunchly proud of his Turkish roots, to such a point that he’s now retired from the international scene amidst what he calls disrespect from the German FA.
They’re worse for it; his guile and creativity has been the hallmark of his game for a decade now. His ability to craft goals from nothing resulted in him being top assist provider in the Bundesliga, Europa League, Champions League, World Cup, European Championship and La Liga.
Whilst at Arsenal, he has been unable to press them on to greater success, but he has always been one of their key players, until now. Unai Emery has dropped him on three occasions this campaign and has recently said he’s just ‘another player’, rather than the talisman many assume him to be.
The Gunners are still amongst the rank outsiders in the latest Premier League betting, but that can’t convince the Spanish manager to play his biggest earning star. With a player as industrious and effective as Ozil, it should be up to a good manager to find a place for him, not to cast him aside without a second thought, even more so when he earns £300,000 per week.
Ozil by Agência Brasil –  (CC BY 3.0)
It seems he could be destined for an Emirates departure; perhaps the huge wage bill is something Emery wants to attack. It’s hard to see what Ozil has done wrong at the Emirates. In his 155 outings for the Gunners, he’s been responsible for 51 assists and 30 goals. In one of the most competitive leagues in the world, that’s a great return.
His time as at Arsenal seems to be coming to an end, but with no real reason. He only signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal 12 months ago and yet after his Boxing Day 2018 outing, he hadn’t featured in the first team for a month.
He’s still only 30 years old and will surely represent a great investment for someone, but apparently not the club he’s served so diligently over the last six seasons.