Should Arsenal Sell Mesut Özil?

2 September 2013: sheer jubilation, by far the most excited Arsenal fans have been since the arrival of the Flying Dutchman from Inter Milan way back in 1995. Fast Forward 13 months and Arsenal fans are relatively happy to see the German international injured, especially for the sustained period that is being touted. Bayern Munich reportedly launched a major bid for Özil during the January transfer window and were also very keen to acquire his services just before he left Real Madrid. However should Arsenal let him go after only a just over a year or should they persist with him and potentially reap the rewards in the future?

Özil started his Arsenal career like a house on fire. On his debut he displayed a sublime bit of skill, combining with Giroud to set him up for Arsenal’s first. On his home debut he got three assists in a 3-1 win against Stoke. He continued his great form In Europe as well, with one of the goals of the season against Napoli. Özil was again short-listed for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, along with former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. Özil was also featured on the UEFA Team of the Year. However as Arsenal’s form started to deteriorate so did Özil’s. Özil was subjected to long spells on the sidelines due to hamstring and shoulder injuries, which plagued his first season in the Premier League. Despite returning late, after World Cup triumph, a lot of arsenal’s relatively slow start this term has been attributed to Özil. His form has been harshly criticised, despite putting in very good performances against Tottenham, Aston Villa and creating goals in other games. Predominately Özil has been utilised as a left midfielder to accommodate the vast array of attacking midfielders that Arsenal have. He has been devoid of a bit of confidence this term undoubtedly but playing him out wide is a waste of the unmistakeable talent he has.

If Arsenal were to put him up for sale there would be a plethora of suitors ready to take him off Arsenal’s hands. He can unlock a defence with one pass and is an expert at getting between the lines. If Arsenal did sell the World Cup Winner then they would have to consider who they could get to replace him. Julian Draxler was an Arsenal target last January; the young German was very impressive against Chelsea during the Champions league this season and is looking like a real hot prospect. Marco Reus was another name being touted this summer, but Arsenal would have to break the bank to bring yet another German to Arsenal. Additionally there have been widespread rumours about a secret agreement between Bayern Munich and Dortmund regarding Reus. Moreover Arsenal fans that want him to leave would also have to understand that the money may not be spent at all. We do have a lot of people who can play attacking midfielder: Cazorla, Wilshere, Ramsey, Rosicky but I feel that Özil is a different type to the rest of them and would be very difficult to replace.

Everyone that has played for or against Özil speak very highly of him. Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso described Özil as “the kind of player you don’t find these days”. José Mourinho, who coached Özil for a time at Real Madrid said, “Ozil is unique. There is no copy of him – not even a bad copy.” Form is temporary, class is permanent. In modern football everyone is looking for a quick fix but Wenger looks not only for talent now but for future talent. I am adamant that if we persist with Özil and play him centrally then he will become a legend at Arsenal.

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