Arsenal shattered their transfer record last summer when they brought in German playmaker Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for 42.5million Pounds. It was a mixed first season for the former Werder Bremen playmaker as he started his Arsenal career with a flourish but suffered a blip in form mid season and this led to an avalanche of criticisms coming his way. Injuries also took its toll on him at some point in the season but despite the ups and downs, he was able to end the season on a good note, helping Arsenal to win the FA Cup which is their first trophy in 9 years.
During his down period, a lot of pundits criticized him but Wenger in his characteristic manner, jumped to his defence. He said he would get better and I can’t but agree with Le Prof not because he is Arsenal’s manager but because all indications point to that happening. Let me share some of the indicators with you.
Ozil would be having a pre-season. This looks a bit clumsy considering the fact that it is a World Cup year and Germany as one of the firm favourites are expected to reach the latter stages. If this happens, he is bound to get extended break and that means reduced pre-season but barring any injuries, he will still have some pre-season matches under his belt. I expect he would make the American tour and also play a part in the Emirates Cup ( all pre-season games). This would put him in good stead for the season proper and it is a sharp contrast with last summer when he arrived on deadline’s day. With good pre-season, he would hit the ground running when the season kicks -off.
Another is the fact that he knows his teammate more now. According to Wenger, every new player needs between 6- 12 months to fully acclimatize in a new league. Taking that into consideration, Ozil’s first season was his adaptation period and fully adapted, he is now ready to take on the rest of the EPL. He also knows his teammates better now, their strength and weaknesses are known to him and that would help his performance next season.
Wenger’s transfer plans is also another reason why he will have a good second season. Ozil is a player that uses space to the fullest and for him to achieve tremendous success at that, he needs a pacy striker to play with. To this end, he hasn’t really had that from Giroud and Sanogo. Wenger is in the market for a new striker and hopes are rife that it would be a pacy front man that can latch on to Ozil’s through balls.
Also, Ozil plays well when he has a strong defensive midfielder behind him. At Real Madrid, he had Alonso and Khedira doing all the dirty work so he didn’t have to bother himself with making tackles and this helped his attacking moves. He didn’t really have a strong defensive midfielder in his first season at Arsenal but that is set to change next season as Wenger is reportedly in the market for a defensive midfielder. The arrival of one would only increase Ozil’s performance.
A rejuvenated Walcott. When I heard Ozil was signing for Arsenal, the prospect of his link-up with Walcott kept me salivating but alas, that was only a mirage as Walcott’s season was ravaged by injuries but that’s just for a short while. The partnership would be expected to light up the Premier League and Europe next season. Should Walcott show full recovery from his cruciate ligament injury, his pace would give a new world of meaning to Ozil’s ingenious through balls. And if reports linking us to Alexis Sanchez or Antoine Grizemann are true and we end up signing any of the two wingers, then we will not only have pace from Walcott alone.