After an extremely frustrating summer that had promised so much, Arsenal finally landed the biggest transfer of the Premier League with the signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for £42.5m, completely smashing their club transfer record. Arsenal had tried relentlessly to bring in big names, but had perhaps not done enough. First it was Gonzalo Higuain, who seemed Emirates bound before Napoli showed more ambition and signed him for £34.5m.
They also came in for Luis Suarez, putting in an offer £35m, £40m, and then the iconic bid of the summer: £40 plus £1. Again Liverpool shunned it and Arsenal lowered their pursuit of the Uruguayan. In the end it came to deadline day, and demands for a star player met in the form of Mesut Ozil. It was a transfer that took people by surprise, with Germany coach Joachim Low describing it as ‘incomprehensible’ that Florentino Perez would let the midfielder go, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Sami Khedira were described as ‘saddened’ by the loss of their teammate.
The sale still seems to be confusing to many, and Real Madrid’s intentions look to have been completely pointless. To sell a player in the prime of their career who had hit the top of the assists table in their previous season does deserve to be dubbed as ‘incomprehensible,’ especially when taking into account that they had signed Gareth Bale for twice the price, a player who has not performed on the biggest stage in the same vain as Ozil. The whole move seems like a fire-sale from Real Madrid.
There are arguments that the Premier League has gained a better player in Mesut Ozil; the German has been the spine of Real Madrid since he joined in 2010 and has also been a vital aspect of the German national team. To think Gareth Bale would be worth twice as much the three years after the World Cup would have been described as ‘crazy talk’ at the time. It still can be, only a year older than Gareth Bale, Ozil still has as many years to make an impact. Although he is still at the young age of only 24, he is also extremely packed with experience. Arsenal have perhaps been the biggest winners in the Bale to Madrid saga.
Tottenham Hotspur could be described as coming on the losing side in the end. Daniel Levy said he felt ‘betrayed’ by Florentino Perez according to El Confidencial after news emerged Ozil would be allowed to leave to Arsenal. Tottenham had supposedly inquired about the midfielder as part of the Gareth Bale transfer. Levy had tried on deadline day to talk Perez out of selling Ozil to Arsenal, but it was to no avail. Spurs may come to bemoan the Real president if they miss out on the Champions League once again.
The record move of Mesut Ozil has turned Arsenal into title contenders, genuine ones at that. His former manager, Jose Mourinho, described him as the best number 10 in the world, suggesting that the Figo and Zidane are evident in him. Ozil has announced that he is keen to work with Arsenal and is confident he can play a starting role this season, while Arsene Wenger will help him develop even further:
“I am looking forward to the new challenge there [Arsenal]. I have already heard that they have super fans, the city is great and the team is fantastic. Wenger gives me the faith and I can develop further. I know what I can do and I know that I could make the grade with any club in the world because I am so convinced in myself.”
Arsenal teammate Theo Walcott said the transfer was a real statement from the club, and that it’s a sign that they are ready for the ‘step up.’ He also claimed that he was excited to link up with the German, stating, “He’s been a great addition and I am personally looking forward to playing with him. I am really excited to play with him.”
Ozil’s move to Arsenal also highlighted how poorly Manchester United have operated in the transfer market. They had a deadline day farce in the move for Ander Herrera, and the purchase of Marouane Fellaini turned into an embarrassment after it was revealed they had paid more than his buy-out clause, which had expired earlier in the window. Gary Neville took a pop at his former club on Twitter, tweeting, “What transfer deadline day does is give you clear indication on the poorly run football clubs!!”
It may not have been the striker Arsenal were looking for, but it can’t be denied that he is a marquee signing, perhaps the biggest signing in Arsenal’s history. First up will be a trip to Sunderland for the German, quite contrasting to anything he had experienced during his time in Spain with Real Madrid.