The Mesut Ozil era at Arsenal is coming to an end.
Mesut Ozil divides opinion among Arsenal fans. Some will doubtlessly be glad to see the back of him, others are set to forever mourn the day he departs. For long the debate on whether he has lived up to his price tag and the hype that surrounded him when he first joined has remained open.
The current debate is whether Ozil be considered an Arsenal legend – there’s even talk of a statue being built. This, however, is a preposterous notion for large swathes of fans. When you mention the words Arsenal legend you immediately think of the likes of Tony Adams, Thierry Henry, David Seaman and Dennis Bergkamp; is Ozil fit to be be mentioned in the same breath as them?
When you think of Arsenal legends, immediately without effort several memorable moments they gave during their tenure at the club spring into mind. Has Ozil provided us with likewise? Above all with ‘legends’, they perform on a consistent basis and step up when called upon. Has Ozil done produced regularly enough to be bestowed with that label?
There is no denying that Ozil was our first big name signing of the Emirates era, and his arrival helped springboard the end of our nine year trophy drought. It’s without doubt that in the 2015/2016 season he would have broken the assist record if he had played with a more prolific striker in front of him instead of Olivier Giroud. On the other hand, why has Ozil not performed at this level in any other season at the club?
Some fans say that if Ozil isn’t considered a legend he should at the very least be heralded as the greatest player of the Emirates era. Whilst the competition is hardly fierce for this title, there is no refuting that Ozil is at the top of that echelon. Still, are others more deserving?
Despite the sour taste still permeating in the mouth after moving to a direct rival, the impact that players like Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas had in north London can’t be understated. In the case of both, at points they single-handedly carried the club all by themselves.
Ability-wise, Ozil is easily the most talented player of the lot, and has been considered on the same level of Kevin De Bruyne in the past. Unfortunately, Ozil’s drop in form has coincided with Arsenal’s and he has looked a shadow of the player that was once known as ‘King of the Assists’.
If we are to consider Ozil a legend, then we must ask: did he step up when the club was struggling?
Is a total of 44 goals and 72 assists in 254 appearances enough to be considered an Arsenal legend, or an underwhelming statistic when you think he was once our record signing? On the flip side, he has won three FA Cups.
A topic that will be debated long after he has left the club; is Ozil a bonafide Arsenal legend, or just a cult hero?