How Big an Upgrade for Real Madrid Is Gareth Bale over Mesut Ozil?

Samuel Marsden@@samuelmarsdenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2013

CARDIFF, WALES - SEPTEMBER 10:  Wales player Gareth Bale looks on during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Group A match between Wales and Serbia at Cardiff City Stadium on September 10, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Gareth Bale cost Real Madrid roughly double what they received from Arsenal for Mesut Ozil—but will they get double the quality?

As players they are different, and it is more likely that Bale's arrival forced Ozil out the door for financial reasons as much as footballing ones. However, parallels will be unavoidable given some of the Madrid players' reactions to the German's departure.

Over the international break it was reported that Cristiano Ronaldo declared himself "angry at Ozil’s exit," via football-espana.net, while Sergio Ramos said that if he decided "what was happening at Madrid [Ozil] would be one of the last who would be going," via The Mirror.

So if Bale was already feeling under pressure to perform due to the phenomenally high price tag on his head, he may well now given the reaction to the sale of Ozil to facilitate his arrival.

The Welshman shouldn't stay up at night worrying too much though. He is certainly capable of providing a significant upgrade in many areas, goals being one. Whether that reduces the pressure on Ronaldo or fuels jealousy in the Portuguese forward is another story for another day.

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Of the 21 goals he fired in for Tottenham in last season's Premier League, an impressively high number of nine arrived from outside the area. Ozil only amassed nine in total, and only one wasn't inside the box—his winning free kick against Real Valladolid in December.

That element of the spectacular should impress the glamour-hungry hard-to-please Bernabeu supporters.

Another facet of Bale's play which Ozil couldn't match is his rapid pace and direct running with the ball that leaves defenders looking like rabbits stuck in headlights. Once again, the Madridstas should approve.

And while, creativity wise, Bale is unlikely to improve on the 91 chances and the 13 assists created by Ozil in La Liga, it's hard not to argue that Bale and Isco, as a starting pair, represent an upgrade on Angel di Maria and Ozil.

Although, very much as a side point, the scary thing is how young all four of these players remain. Isco, at 21, is the youngest, Bale and Ozil are 24 and Di Maria, the old man of the group, is 25 .

The emphasis shouldn't be on comparing Bale and Ozil though. One player doesn't make a team, and the Welshman's arrival, if it doesn't signal a switch in the formation implemented by Carlo Ancelotti, will certainly produce a change in style from Madrid under Jose Mourinho.

A three-man midfield could play behind a front three of Bale, Ronaldo and Isco, with the latter as a false nine. Karim Benzema could also play as the forward, with Isco dropping into a midfield three which wouldn't lack variation and options—Sami Khedira, Casemiro, Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric and Asier Illarramendi.

Ozil's work, although appreciated, is the sort which is often easy to forget about. Bale's is stunning in it's raw brutality.

Although Madrid miss Ozil at the moment, fans will soon forget him if their new galactico manages to produce what was expected when Florentino Perez sanctioned a world-record transfer for his services.  

All stats taken from Squawka.


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