Mesut Özil is up for PFA player of the year. He’s amongst a shortlist of five or six people – I didn’t bother checking in much detail because I heard the only name I wanted to hear yesterday and his name was Mesut – and that he has made this list, I think is a testament to his own strength as an individual.
Let’s not forget that it was just over a year ago that lazy journalists were talking about ‘nicking a living’, where there was rarely a day that went by without a pundit, football fan or other commentator up and down the land making comments about how he was a flop and just doesn’t justify his price tag.
Well, there’s a fair bit of egg being thrown around on faces at the moment, isn’t there?
Not only has the German justified his status as one of the games greats in his position, he’s also on the verge of breaking a Thierry Henry record, for assists in a season. The guy is a wonder to watch. The only word I can think of at this early time in the morning is ‘elegant’, but were my brain to properly engage its inner thesaurus, I’d probably find an army of superlatives to chuck in the way of our main man.
I simply love watching him play. He stands out as our best player and when he’s on form it adds an extra 25% to our game. No other player in our team has the same vision as he and it is certainly fitting that Arsène has likened him to Bergkamp. Given the way the season has ended, there have been fears that we might lose the German, but I’ll comfortably tell you that the rumours of a potential contract being signed are one of the best I’ve heard all season. He’s that important to us.
He’s also added goals to his game this season. He’s got eight goals and whilst we’d all love to see more and him getting in to double figures by the time we kick 2015/16 into touch (with an extra long punt, at this rate), the fact he’s weighed in with so many assists, just further emphasises his class. He sees things others don’t. But not only that, his accuracy ensures that what he sees is more often than not executed. I thought we would have to wait a long time before we found a player with the same vision as Cesc, but Özil has all but erased that fear, as well as the memory of that individual, which has us all a little happier I’m sure you’ll agree.
Despite this clearly biased eulogy of a man who is comfortably my favourite Arsenal player (and I have previously blogged about not having favourites since Thierry left us – not even Cesc I hasten to add), he won’t win the PFA player of the year though, because him winning it doesn’t fit the narrative. It will be a Leicester player that wins it, because that is the ‘fairytale’ ending that the whole world is craving. I suspect we’ll see a one/two of Vardy and Mahrez, so I’ll be interested to find out in which order the award is given out.
I’m biased, but Mesut Özil is better than both of those players. If he sticks around at Arsenal long enough, he’ll prove it too over time, I’m sure. But that’s the key: can we keep him long enough? Can we convince him that this Arsenal team – under this Arsenal manager – can challenge for honours. I dislike That Dutch Blooe as much as you, but if Mesut sits down with Arsène towards the end of the summer and we’ve had another shocker in the market, wouldn’t you question the club? Heck, we’re all doing it now ourselves anyway, right?
Thierry loved Arsenal, but he was a world class player at a club that weren’t yet in a position to strengthen the team in all positions, so he had to leave to pick up those trophies he craved. Nobody really judged him, did they? I didn’t. So we need to make sure that the ambition of world class players like Özil is matched by the club. I’m not even talking £70million signings. Just players who will improve the quality of the team. Arsenal have already shown those players are out there with the acquisition of Elneny, who is proving to be a very good buy, but we need only a couple of world class players to edge us in the right direction.
The question over whether the manager is then capable of turning that in to a premier league championship winning side is one for a whole other blog, on a whole other day, so on that note I think I’ll wrap up and see thee in the morrow.