COMMENTARY | The arrival of Mesut Özil at Arsenal signifies the beginning of a new era at the Emirates. The team's manager, Arsene Wenger, has always been thought of as sort of the Barclays Premier League version of Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane. Much like Beane, the French manager usually prefers to buy younger, cheaper players with certain skill sets, and then sell them later for a massive profit.
Wenger has unearthed quite a few hidden gems over the years, including Robin van Persie, Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas, and Emmanuel Adebayor. The combined total cost of these four players was about $10.3 million; however, Wenger eventually sold these four players for a combined $154.1 million. While Wenger still enjoys buying youngsters (no one seems to talk about Dan Crowley, the highly rated 15-year-old whom the club bought earlier this summer), the signing of Özil is both a sign of ambition and change for Wenger and the Gunners.
Özil, a German international, was bought by the Gunners from Real Madrid for a club record fee of around $66 million on Monday. The club's previous record signing was Andrei Arshavin for about $23 million in 2009. Not only does Arsenal get one of the top attacking midfielders in the world in Özil, but now other world class players from around the world will see that the Gunners do have ambition and are willing to spend money to get great players.
In recent years, Arsenal has been perceived as a club in which has definite talent, but perhaps is not a championship caliber team. The Özil deal squashes that perception. Mesut Özil's teammate at Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo, was reportedly furious over the sale of his colleague. The widely regarded second best player in the world told Spanish newspaper AS, "Özil leaving is very bad news for me. He was the player that best understood my movement towards goal. I'm angry about Özil leaving."
Many Arsenal fans were extremely vocal about wanting Wenger (and the Arsenal board) fired at the beginning of the season; however, any chance of Arsene Wenger being fired any time soon have now been thrown out of the window.
Christopher Moore has been following Arsenal Football Club for over 10 years.
- Sports & Recreation
- Arsene Wenger
- Mesut Özil