Mesut Ozil has finally left Arsenal after seven and a half years at the club. And while the player won three FA Cups, it is difficult to say that he is now leaving having fulfilled the promise that Arsenal would’ve seen in him when they purchased him from Real Madrid.
Yet to go so far as English commentator and Arsenal supporter Piers Morgan recently proclaimed is not only churlish and mean spirited, but also partially untrue and completely unfair in the context of the entire club.
Arsenal have been going through the motions over the last few seasons and even before that, the club was not operating as it had done during the legendary campaigns of the late 1990s, early 2000s.
And so while I can appreciate an ardent supporter voicing the frustration we all have regarding a player who has certainly not maintained the form that brought them to London in the first instance, one must look at the entire picture, the good and the bad, the player and the club, to really see the true position Mesut Ozil will keep in the history of Arsenal, now that he is mercifully a part of it.
Mesut Ozil: A mercurial virtuoso, if ever one could be called such
Ozil was always terrific in terrific environments, and that means not only match situations, but also entire team situations. That is to say, that Ozil was excellent in the big matches, especially with country or the highest level clubs because of all that is provided talent-wise. This is not to say, of course, that he is not a remarkable and special talent in his own right, which is and should be obvious to anyone who’s ever watched him kick a football.
But the German does play best when the team around him is dangerous, and Arsenal over the last few seasons, at the most generous, haven’t been dangerous enough for Ozil. It was noticeable in the dying days of the Wenger days as well as throughout the quick and largely forgettable Unai Emery tenure, but since some modicum of stability has been found in this current Mikel Arteta era, why has not the success of Ozil returned?
Far from a return under Arteta, the Spanish boss decided that Ozil was surplus due likely to a combination of age, wage and lack of noticeable, real and/or perceived ambition to play in the way that the new boss, his former teammate, wishes to see. This fact, a secret to no one with literacy or perception, is likely what has infuriated Mr. Morgan so vehemently. Yet far from bitterness, Gooners should be thankful for what the player was able to provide, as opposed to griping about the imaginary heights that the midfielders lack of “bother” stifled the team from achieving.
More from Pain in the Arsenal
- 3 standout players from 1-0 victory over Everton
- 3 positives & negatives from Goodison Park victory
- Arsenal vs PSV preview: Prediction, team news & lineups
- 3 talking points from Arsenal’s victory at Goodison Park
- Mikel Arteta provides Gabriel Martinelli injury update after Everton win
Arsenal has not reached the heights that it should with the talent it has not because of Ozil alone, but because of the will and spirit of the entire roster.
Can Ozil be blamed? Yes he can, but he can also be credited with many wonderful moments as well. And while fan favorites are always given the unabashed support of the supporters, even if they too made errors during their time in north London, someone like Ozil is easy to dislike in many ways, and so, bears much of the burden for an Arsenal team that simply is not what it used to be.
Are there things I do not like about Ozil? Yes indeed; I do not like the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and so the photo opportunities he has taken, as well as some of the stances, are distasteful. But from a football standpoint, his mercurial nature for me, was something that was very attractive about the player, both before and since his arrival to London.
While some complain about the seemingly careless nature by which Ozil appears to play the game with, for me, he is simply ultra comfortable and spontaneous, ready to receive and play the perfect ball at a moments notice, as a happy child might playing with his friends in the park.