Mesut Ozil might just be discovering the true impact of his £42.4 million move to Arsenal after Arsene Wenger confessed his own future at the club will be dictated by how the Gunners perform this season.
Ozil drew a line under the fallout from his Real Madrid exit on Thursday, choosing not to bad mouth a club that has not offered him the same courtesy over the past two weeks.
John Cross of the Daily Mirror quotes the German:
People know how professional I am and this is what counts. All the rumours, I don’t care about them. I have a new task here. I’m just looking ahead. I am in London now.
Ozil was forced to discuss his previous employers after his professionalism was questioned by Madrid president Florentino Perez. The midfielder’s father has since threatened legal action against the Bernabeu club, per James Olley of the Evening Standard.
However, Ozil’s attention is already with Arsenal, a club he believes can win the title this season. Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail reported that when pressed on the Madrid issue, the German international made an effort to quash the situation for a final time and said:
I don’t want to say too many things about Madrid. I have friends there. The fans and the players didn’t understand (why I was sold) but this is football. I am not disappointed, I have made the next step and I have to prove myself and continue developing here.
Ozil: 'I had a very good time in Madrid.. but I have made the next step, I'm in the strongest league in the world' http://t.co/22pXcqOt84— Arsenal.com (@Arsenal) September 12, 2013
For Wenger, the Ozil deal is the greatest gamble—based purely on the size of the fee—that the Arsenal manager has taken.
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Without a trophy in eight years, Wenger has long had the buffer of being able to claim he is working to a much tighter budget than his title rivals. There has been truth to that claim too.
But now he has broken the club’s transfer record. In fact, he obliterated it, almost tripling the £15 million spent on Andrey Arshavin.
Wenger’s contract expires at the end of the season and, while he never gets concerned about his future at the Emirates, Sky Sports reported that the Frenchman admits results need to go well for him to extend his stay. Wenger said:
I have said many times I want to do well with this club and in the end I will sit down and think, “How well have I done with the team I have had?” That has to be sufficient for me to decide yes or no.
One of the main judgments you can have about a manager is how well he does with his team.
Given that Ozil is the only paid-for addition to a squad that squeezed into a top-four spot last term, much pressure rests on the German to help Wenger retain the faith of the fans.
A repeat of last season’s failure to mount a title challenge will impress nobody. Another lucky escape in Champions League qualification will raise only further doubts around the Emirates. And failure to finish in the top four? That will be unacceptable.