Well now, what sort of Arsenal-related news could we possibly talk about, given that they aren’t playing until Monday and Arteta already did his presser on Thursday that we had a chin wag about yesterday?
Oh, I dunno, how about a certain German playmaker with whom nearly all of the major media outlets confirmed yesterday is on the verge of signing for Fenerbahce, bringing an end to a saga that has plagued the club for near two years?
Yep, yesterday it was Ornstein first who confirmed that Mesut Ozil will sign for the Turkish club on a free transfer, after the player and Arsenal came to an agreement on terminating his contract. Depending on who you listen to Mesut is getting all or a varying levels of “some” of the wages he is owed until the end of the season and Arsenal will pay the amount in installments over a prolonged period of time.
First and foremost let’s speculate over the deal itself. Whilst we are not privy to the information and probably will never be fully aware of it, I fail to believe that even Arsenal are going to pay up his full amount and let him go having paid him the £7million (ish) his wages are supposed to be between now and the contract expiry. That is my hope anyway. Why should they? We don’t have any money, plus the fact that you have a player in a position in which we need to strengthen, it makes no sense to say we will effectively pay him to play somewhere else. You might as well just keep him rotting in the under 23s/training and not playing. The player has refused to budge and if Arsenal have to pay him the exact amount he is owed then they owe nothing to the player or Fenerbahce that would see both of those parties pick up a player for free whilst the player himself makes even more money than he was due to make.
That is my hope anyway i.e. Arsenal have said to Ozil “you can go, you can get the £100k-per-week that Fenerbahce want to pay you, plus the signing on fee. But we have to be able to have some kind of benefit from the deal. So how about we pay you £5million instead of £7million, plus the loyalty bonus for seeing out your contract, then you go to Fenerbahce and earn more than that?”
I hope that is the situation because it benefits everyone: the player, Fenerbahce, but also Arsenal.
It also takes another one of these ‘old guard’ out of the team and allows Arteta to move forward with the core set of players that know they are going to play every week. We have known all season that there are a core of senior pro’s that aren’t delivering for Arsenal and in addition to that, there have been rumours of dressing room unrest by some of their situations. That is no good for harmony and the exit of Ozil, Sokratis, Kolasinac, this month is the start of a process that will finish with Mustafi, Luiz and probably one or two more in the summer. The purging and trimming is well under way and in terms of Arsenal moving forward it is a good thing.
It is also a relief because this has been a cloud that for far too long has hung over the club and I’m glad it is finally coming to an end earlier than we thought it would. I did believe we’d be asking the Ozil question until June. But a month from now we’ll be able to just move on and focus on the future of Arsenal, rather than the past, which is a-okay for me.
I will say, however, that it is a cloud of the club’s making because it was Wenger and Gazidis that sanctioned what frankly was a ludicrous deal at the time and it has completely backfired for us. The player’s form has been patchy ever since, even though he has still provided some great performances, but we put all of our eggs in the Ozil project and it didn’t work. It hamstrung us slightly in terms of wages and set a precedent that the other players were well aware of. So I’ll repeat what you will have read/watched/listened to from many others: it was not Ozil’s fault or problem that the club decided to pay him w hat they offered. As much as people have vitriol (I think wrongly) and animosity towards Ozil, those who have put us in this position and have sanctioned decisions like that as well as some shocking transfer ‘coups’, need to have as much animosity.
As for the player himself, I have never had that much ire for, because simply put I’ve always loved seeing him play. He will not go down in my top ten Arsenal players I’ve seen of all time, because i’m 38 and those top ten are Henry, Bergkamp, Pires, Wright, Adams, Rocastle, Fabregas, Vieira, Campbell, van Persie (contentious but think about the seasons he had when he was unplayable, as well as what he delivered). I’ve loved watching Arsenal and Ozil and van Persie probably fight for that spot in at 10, but regardless of whether you agree with me or not, when Ozil was at his best in an Arsenal shirt it was majestic to watch. He saw things others did not, played football like he was gliding across the pitch, had a vision that wowed Arsenal fans and rather than the last acrimonious two year’s, I’m going to remember those times he lit up the pitch and excited us all.
It shouldn’t have ended this way. I had hopes he would bow out a legend at the club, a true man who had delivered right up until the last day or his time at Arsenal, leaving me with the kind of sadness that the team was worse off with him going, like how I felt when Henry left the club. But I sadly don’t have those feelings.
I suspect that it’ll all be confirmed tomorrow and so I might write an Arsenal career obituary on the player and his time at the club tomorrow, largely with my positive memories of him, so for now I’ll leave it. But I’d urge you to try not to get too hung up on his departure one way or the other. Player careers at our club are finite; they’re all going to leave eventually and this is just another one on his way out.
Catch you all tomorrow.