Mesut Özil: The New Diego

GuidoAnalyst ISeptember 30, 2008

They call him "der Neue Diego", the new Diego. It's a nick-name young Mesut Özil has earnt himself within a few months. He's being referred to as the new Diego, the Brazilian play-maker from Werder. Die Hanseaten have high expectations for the young Turkish German talent, who was sold by Schalke '04 in January because he wasn't living up to the high expectations.

Özil is deemed one of the biggest talents in the German Bundesliga. His life-story so far is like a little boy's dream. The Gelsenkirchen-born German of Turkish descent made his debut for Schalke '04 at the tender age of seventeen, back in 2006. He was one of the pearls from the youth academy. He quickly broke into first team and even played in the Champions League for Die Königsblauen.

All sounds perfect so far. Young talent is playing for his home town and excelling. Something went wrong at that point last season. Özil refused to re-new his contract, at which point he was dropped from the team. The young starlet still refused to sign a new contract and Schalke was more or less forced to sell Özil. His contract was due to expire and this was the only way for the Gelsenkirchen side to cash in on the talent. For a mere four million, Werder Bremen snapped Özil up.

Özil was instantly the most expensive teenage transfer ever in Germany and he was the target for all the boulevard papers. The overwhelming media attention was proving difficult for the young starlet. Coupled with Özil missing his family, that had stayed behind in Gelsenkirchen, it looked like he would succumb to the immense pressure.

In the end, he overcame these problems and proved his worth in the opening weeks of the season. He already scored three goals and provided four assists this season and he excelled in Werders away trashing of Rekordmeister Bayern München. The German football magazine Kicker nominated him as Player of the Month September, together with Patrick Helmes and Vedad Ibisevic. 

Özil's recent display of skill will leave several other clubs wondering why they didn't sign the youngster last January. One of the teams rumoured to be interested in the young midfielder were Manchester United and FC Bayern München, but they both felt the transfer sum was too high for a player that young.

According to his former team-mate Jurica Vranjes, Özil made the right choice in transferring to Werder Bremen. The pressure of having to perform is not that great at Bremen. Bayern and Manchester United are both top clubs and they don't give second chances to a young lad who fails to deliver the first few months.

Werder was more patient and they are reaping the benefits of that decision right now. If their Brazilian play-maker Diego decides to move, Werder can instantly field young Özil as his replacement. The talented youngster has already proven he has the potential to be as good as Diego is.

Remember the name: Mesut Özil is a name to watch out for the next few years.