Unai Emery is the man with the power to pick the team and so Özil has little else with which to strike back if he isn’t playing. Which is why he – with inevitable backing and collaboration of his PR Team too – decided to post a not-so-subtle message last night on social media:
When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong.’ 🙏🏼 || #DennisBergkamp
So what we have here is a player using the medium he does have control over to put his stake in the ground and declare war. There’s no other way of looking at his comment last night. He is publicly telling everyone that he is here and wants to stay and the manager won’t force him out.
And it’s a clever move too, perfectly timed after a shocking away defeat, which Özil will have been fully aware of too. Which is why whilst I’m supportive of Özil and his inclusion in the team, it’s hard for me not to be too cynical about the message, one in which the battle lines are drawn and that can’t be good for the club.
We don’t need an internal war at the business end of the season.
I’m always optimistic in life (except when it comes to predicting Arsenal results!) but whilst I’d hoped that Özil could just keep chipping away and eventually the manager would re-integrate him back in the team, I don’t think there’s any way he’ll be getting back for next Thursday’s game against BATE, or the matches against Southampton and Bournemouth too. Perhaps I’m wrong but this feels like a clear moment in which Özil will now no longer be seen in the team.
Perhaps he knows that. Perhaps that’s why he’s chosen to make this move. If he has been told he won’t be playing in future then perhaps he’s looking at it as desperate times calling for desperate measures.
But the problem I think he’s got is that this isn’t just Unai. If it was just an Emery decision strangely enough I think there might be a way back for our German World Cup winner. That’s because if Unai truly is somebody who plays based on merit then all Özil would need to do is to say “ok boss, let me get my head down, I’ll do what you say, then you can play me, ok?”
But as Ornstein has already said this is coming from the upper echelons at the club too. Sanllehi is running the show now and Emery must have his full backing and that’s why Özil is probably not going to win this war. Which is why, backed in to a corner, he might be using the only weapon he has which is social media.
It will do him no good though if the general consensus is that he needs to go because of the exorbitant wages he’s on. The irony is that his moves to get the mega deal last season may have netted him serious cash in the subsequent year that has followed, but ultimately it will cost him long term if he really does love London so much and want to stay.
Imagine, for example, if he was on the same money as Mkhi I.e. £200k a week. Would there be the same push from the club? Certainly not. He may still have had his run in with Emery, but I don’t think it will have been as political as it’s got, which is a shame.
And it’s therefore a shame that the club has gone in to such austerity mode again, brought about by the negligence of Gazidis, who has now departed to probably ruin another club in AC Milan, leaving us with the problem we currently have.
And where are we now? We’re in a political mess where we are self harming by not utilising a player who is clearly one of the best in our squad. We’re devoid of creativity with one of the Premier League’s most creative players sat at home playing computer games. We’re probably even devaluing him even further by not playing him. To me it’s a stupid situation the club has put us in and is an example of the friction that has been caused by the power shift that has occurred at the club in the last 12 months.
This was supposed to be a smooth transition from one part of Arsenal’s history to another. Instead it’s turned in to a complete mess.
Catch you all tomorrow.