Arsenal FC: 4 Implications of Signing Mesut Ozil
Up until September 2, Arsenal's summer transfer activity had been an absolute shambles. After chief executive Ivan Gazidis told the Mirror's John Cross in June that the club were beginning to see "financial firepower," Arsenal failed to spend a penny on transfers all summer long with free signings Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Flamini the only new arrivals.
In a matter of hours, Arsene Wenger turned his club's summer around by smashing Arsenal's transfer record with a £42.4 million deal for the 24-year-old German playmaker, according to David Ornstein of BBC Sport.
Having a player of Ozil's world-class stature and outrageous talent means things will certainly change at the Emirates this season. Here are five implications of Arsenal signing Mesut Ozil.
A Possible Position Change for Santi Cazorla
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Santi Cazorla was arguably Arsenal's best player of the 2012-13 campaign, finishing off his first season in England with 12 goals and 11 assists.
The Spanish playmaker mostly featured at central attacking midfield, although he was sometimes deputized at left wing.
With the arrival of Ozil, one of the most talented attacking midfielders in world football, one gets the feeling that Cazorla will have to get used to playing on the left more often in order to accommodate for Arsenal's marquee signing.
That's not to say that Cazorla won't be as valuable to Arsenal this season—the 28-year-old is still one of the most creative players in the Premier League and has already started the 2013-14 season brightly.
In fact, Cazorla predominantly played on the wing during his time at Malaga, his previous club. It's likely Wenger will have him frequently cut inside, where Cazorla's two-footedness will surely come in handy.
The prospect of Cazorla and Ozil combining in midfield is mouth-watering for Arsenal supporters—and frightening for fans of the other 19 Premier League clubs.
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Not only will the arrival of Ozil offer the Gunners tactical versatility, but it seems that the club's lack of depth in the forward position might force their hand into trying out new formations.
While the capture of Ozil was incredible, the fact of the matter is that Arsenal still failed to address the squad's most pressing needs this summer—the most urgent one being to buy a striker. That especially became true after Lukas Podolski was injured and could miss 10 weeks.
Luckily, Olivier Giroud is in the form of his life—but the reality is that he can't play every single match of a grueling, nine-month season. When the Frenchman isn't available or he needs a rest, there could be other tactical options for Wenger to consider.
Behold, the "false nine" formation—to put it simply, playing without a striker. For a more in-depth explanation, see this excellent analysis by Gene Oliver of Soccer Without Limits, but essentially what the false nine does is drop deep into midfield rather than looking to exploit the center-backs like a traditional forward.
The beauty of the false-nine formation is that, due to its novelty, most defenders don't quite know how to defend against it. Although it's somewhat of a new phenomenon, this formation has shown brilliant results when done right.
As if that instance isn't enough, Barcelona used the formation under Pep Guardiola in the 2010-11 season, with Lionel Messi playing as the false nine.
While Wenger isn't exactly known for his tactical flexibility, he may have no choice but to field a strikerless 4-6-0 formation at some point this season—unless he wants to throw Nicklas Bendtner up front.
With Ozil added to a plethora of technically skilled midfielders, Arsenal are certainly a team capable of bringing the false-nine formation to English football. Now, exactly who plays as the false nine is up to Wenger and his expert judgement.
Olivier Giroud Can Become a 25-Goal-a-Season Striker
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Olivier Giroud has been on fire this season, scoring four goals in his first five games.
As long as you didn't compare him to Robin van Persie, the Frenchman had a solid—if not encouraging—first season in England, scoring 17 goals in all competitions.
That being said, nobody expected Giroud to be playing as well as he's currently playing. The 26-year-old has completely stepped up his game, and after getting his third Premier League goal in as many games this weekend, it's looking like he'll have a big season.
That, however, was before Ozil signed. With a front three of Cazorla, Özil and Theo Walcott, Arsenal will be creating chances left and right—and Giroud will ultimately be reaping the rewards.
With the kind of service he'll be getting and the kind of form he's in, expect Giroud to break the 25-goal mark and make a strong push for the Premier League Golden Boot this season.
More Big Names Will Follow
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Arsenal's signing of Ozil wasn't only exciting because it was the acquisition of a world-class player, but also because it seems to (hopefully) signal the start of a new era for the Gunners.
The signing is certainly a statement of intent, with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho admitting that he blocked a potential Demba Ba transfer to Arsenal on deadline day because he thought the signing of Ozil makes the North London outfit title contenders.
The former Real Madrid playmaker is the marquee signing Arsenal supporters have been crying out for in the past few years. While it wouldn't exactly be a surprise if Wenger went back to bargains and penny-pinching, the fact that he shelled out £42.4 million for one player seems to indicate a change in the Frenchman's transfer policy.
Arsenal is one of the toughest clubs to predict, but signing Mesut Ozil seems more like a new beginning rather than an anomaly.