Mesut Ozil: 10 Things You Need to Know About Arsenal's New Signing
“I can guarantee you every player who wants to join us, the first question is: “Do you play in the Champions League or not?” It is as simple as that. The players who want to come, or go somewhere or not, is decided on that. That is the first requirement of the top, top, top level players.’”- Arsene Wenger
This was a truly unforgettable summer transfer window for everyone connected with Arsenal football club.
It all started when the club’s chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, blew his trumpet about how the team had the financial capabilities to compete with the "creme de la creme" of European football, but Arsenal fans watched in disgust as transfer targets like Stevan Jovetic and Gonzalo Higuain slipped past their grasps to join new employers.
Then there was the failed pursuit of Luis Suarez, a protracted saga that ended in anguish as well.
Prior to yesterday’s transfer deadline day, the Gunners had signed Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Flamini for free.
The Aston Villa debacle happened and the fans went berserk as they used various social media to voice their frustrations, but Arsene Wenger steadied the ship on his team picked a rich run of form, winning Fulham, Fenerbahce on two occasions and the old enemy, Tottenham Hotspurs, despite their multi-million pound squad.
Yesterday, Arsenal shocked the football world as they smashed their transfer record to swoop for Real Madrid’s Mesut Ozil via Arsenal.com, who underwent the second part of his medical in Munich on Monday after agreeing personal terms with the club. The German is set to become Arsenal’s highest earner with a salary of £130,000-per-week that runs till 2018.
Arsenal fans (me included) went haywire on various social media as they are basking in the euphoria of seeing the club smash their transfer record to sign a top quality player.
Without further ado, here are 10 things you need to know about Arsenal’s new acquisition.
He’s the Most Creative Force in European Football
Courtesy of Mesut Ozil’s official site, the 24-year-old German has played 353 football games, made 12,647 passes (85 percent passing completion percentage), scored 59 goals and most importantly, he has created a whooping 144 assists. The table below shows a more detailed breakdown on Ozil’s amazing stats.
Pass Completion Percentage
|Bundesliga (Schalke and Bremen)|
|German National Team|
In the last three seasons, Ozil has amassed an amazing haul of 94 assists for both club and country. Arsenal’s primary creator-in-chief in the yesteryear, Cesc Fabregas, has managed 49 assists for Barcelona and Spain in the same timeframe. The players that follow Ozil in the assists charts for both club and country in the past three seasons are Lionel Messi (80), Juan Mata (66), Franck Ribery (55) and Eden Hazard (52).
In Ozil, Arsenal has acquired arguably the most creative player in the world at the moment.
His Technique on the Ball is Exquisite
Ardent followers of European football can attest to the fact that Mesut Ozil is a joy to watch when he’s on the pitch. Despite the fact that he was playing under the shadow of the almighty Cristiano Ronaldo in his Real Madrid days, Ozil showed off his quality on a consistent basis with his excellent control on the ball, eagle-eyed vision and those goals that came in handy from time to time.
Ozil also posed a threat from distance as he possesses a powerful shot. He’s a very skillful player and his flamboyance is unrivaled.
Ozil is widely recognized in the football world and has often been compared to other leading football technicians like Lionel Messi, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo.
He has Turkish Roots
You don’t even need to speak or learn German to know that Mesut Ozil isn’t a name from that nation. He’s is a third-generation Turkish-German of Kurdish descent, and he was born in the old Ruhr mining town of Gelsenkirchen where he spent his formative years at Schalke 04. His father, Mustafa Ozil, moved to Germany at the age of two and his ancestors are from a town in Northern Turkey called Devrek.
Deverek is a town in the Zonguldak province in the Black Sea region of Turkey. Pine, oak, fir, beech, elm, chestnut and lime trees are found throughout the forests around Devrek. The town's weather is cool during the summer, and warm and rainy during the winter.
Besides the Ozils, the town can also boast about Dr. Salim Yilmaz, a space station inventor.
His Comparison with Diego in His Werden Bremen Days
Diego Ribas da Cunha is a Brazilian attacking midfielder that has plied his trade in major European clubs before settling down in VFL Wolfsburg. After breaking out from the Santos setup in 2002, Diego arrived at FC Porto as the touted successor to Barcelona-bound Champions League winner, Deco, but he failed to live up to the hype.
He was offered some solace in Werder Bremen and played some of his best football in the German club, guiding them to the DFB Pokal in 2009. After offering his best years to Werden Bremen, he departed for Juventus with a big-money move, but the Brazilian struggled in Delle Alpi and was shipped to Wolfsburg where he has been ever since, but he went on loan to Atletico Madrid last season.
Mesut Ozil arrived in Bremen following a fallout with the Schalke management, and he was fondly called “der Neue Diego” (the next Diego) after his Brazilian predecessor. Like Diego, Ozil predominantly played behind the striker, was also a flamboyant player for Bremen and his impact on the team was immediate.
After initially being charged with the task of filling the void left by Brazilian playmaker Diego, Ozil made his own name by scoring the winning goal in Bremen’s DFB-Pokal cup triumph and helping the side reach the final of the last ever Uefa Cup, which they lost to Shakhtar Donetsk.
He’s a Core Player for the German National Team
Ozil was chanced with the opportunity to play for Turkey and Germany, but he chose the latter and represented the nation at junior levels before his senior team debut in February 2009.
On the international scene, Ozil rose to prominence following some breathtaking performances in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He was a standout performer in the Group Stages as the Germans topped their group and braced themselves for a Second Round showdown with Fabio Capello’s England. Even if the game might be remembered for that Frank Lampard attempt on goal that passed the line, the Germans ran riot past the Three Lions and Ozil even set up Thomas Mueller to put the game beyond doubt.
Ozil also created an assist for Miroslav Klose in the 4-0 drubbing of Argentina and he was shortlisted for the FIFA World Cup MVP award that was eventually won by Uruguay’s Diego Forlan. Following a victory over Uruguay, Ozil earned a bronze medal, which was his second piece of international silverware, as he was part of the Germany Under-21 squad that won the 2009 Under-21 Euros.
Ozil showcased his creativity in Germany’s run to Euro 2012, supplying seven assists to his teammates, which made him the most creative player in the qualifiers. In the tournament, Ozil was part of the German squad that qualified from the Group of Death, as they were drawn with Holland, Portugal and Denmark but their run was halted abruptly in the semifinals courtesy of the Mario Balotelli show for Italy.
Ozil is a vital cog in the German midfield engine and he will be odds on to feature at the 2014 FIFA World Cup that comes next summer.
Real Madrid Won Every Game Ozil Managed to Score
This is a pretty interesting stat, as Ozil isn’t really known to score goals.
He prefers to create chances for the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo or Karim Benzema to score but every time he managed to get on the score sheet, Real Madrid ended up winning the game. In his debut campaign with Real Madrid, Ozil scored 10 goals and repeated the same goal haul in his third season with the club.
He notched up a total of 27 goals for the Spanish giants and they won every game he was on the score sheet.
You Can Follow Him on Twitter
Twitter is a very powerful social networking platform that has connected so many people with others with the same interests. Footballers also use this platform to interact with their fans giving them info on their activities and what have you.
Arsenal has its fair share of "tweeps" in the form of Jack Wilshere, Aaon Ramsey, Bacary Sagna, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and a host of others.
Mesut Ozil has a strong presence on Twitter with over three million followers thus far. You can follow him on Twitter @MesutOzil1088
He’s a Devout Muslim
Like Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa, Mesut Ozil is part of the Muslim community and he recites Qur’an verses before all his matches to help him focus,
“I always do that before I go out (on the pitch). I pray and my team-mates know that they cannot talk to me during this brief period.” (via Mesut Ozil Facts)
Ozil also fasts during the Ramadan period as well.
Arsene Wenger Rates Him Highly
Following the capture of a major superstar like Ozil, it was expected that his manager was going to air his views on his new recruit (via Arsenal.com),
“I have said throughout the summer that we have been working hard to bring in top quality players to this football club. This has involved many many people across the Club and I have always had the full support of the Club in making decisions on the football side.
“Mesut is a top quality footballer who will be a fantastic addition to our talented squad. We are all looking forward to him joining up with us after his international matches with Germany and working with us as an Arsenal player.”
He Will Fit Perfectly in Arsenal Style of Play
Arsenal has its fair share of creative midfielders in the forms of Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey but with Ozil spraying passes like hot knife through butter, both Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott should see their goal haul rise to astronomical levels.
With Lukas Podolski and the Ox out injured, it seems more than likely that Cazorla would continue playing from the left-hand side of attack to support Giroud and Walcott. Ramsey is rapidly becoming an indispensable player for the team and with Wilshere’s fitness still being a concern, Arsenal can count on Mathieu Flamini to deputize in his stead.
However, the arrival of a mega-signing like Ozil could signal the end for Rosicky, as Wenger would favor playing Ozil behind Giroud, where he’s most potent. Arsenal’s fluid intricate passing play would make Ozil blend into the team quickly and he won’t have problems adapting to the Premier League as well, with his compatriots, Per Mertesacker and Podolski will be willing to make him feel at home.
The fans cried out for a new center back but Arsene Wenger remoulded Bacary Sagna to a fine center back and his performances alongside Mertesacker are as good you would ever see from a more recognized center back.
The fans cried out for a marquee defensive midfielder and names like Marouane Fellaini, Luiz Gustavo, Etienne Capoue, Asier Illarramendi and Lars Bender popped up more times than the amount of gum Sir Alex Ferguson has ever chewed. The manager rolled back the years to sign the combative and tenacious Mathieu Flamini that put up a great show against Tottenham.
The fans cried out for a certain Julio Cesar to challenge Wojciech Szczesny, but the Gunners loaned Palermo’s Emiliano Viviano, Italy’s current No. 2 goalie behind the legendary Gianluigi Buffon.
The fans cried out for a center forward to support Giroud, but Wenger still harbors some hopes of playing Nicklas Bendtner, is he throws his inflated ego out the window and brings his head down.
In all honesty, I would never have imagined that a thrifty club like Arsenal would be willing to spend £42.4m on a player but the signing of Ozil will be the lift that the players need to go all the way this season. His arrival will be a massive signing for the Gunners—this is a game changing move from Arsene Wenger.
When you play against GirOuD, oZIL and cazorLA, you better be scared because together they form GODZILLA.
To wet your appetites on what Ozil has to offer, please feast your eyes on this YouTube compilation above.
This article is also featured in Toni Okike's Arsenal blog, Gooner Daily