By Walter Broeckx
When last summer on transfer deadline day Arsenal signed Mesut Özil it was the start of something new.
New for Arsenal and their supporters because after years having had to sell their best players because they wanted out for all kinds of reasons like DNA and money we now bought one of the best midfielders in the world ourselves. There were all kinds of reactions worldwide on this transfer that took Özil from Real Madrid to Arsenal.
I remember Christiano Ronaldo being very angry when he heard the news. And rightfully so. He knew the influence a player like Özil has and Ronaldo knew that Özil leaving will make it more difficult for him. A fast player up front is what Özil needs and that fast striker needs an Özil behind him. Ronaldo relied a lot on the assists of Özil and he knew he would miss them.
Even Mourinho said that Özil is one of the best midfielders in the world and for once I believe him.
Of course supporters of other teams reacted in a different way. As can be expected of course. And the jokes were out like: Özil will retire from winning things from now on as he joins Arsenal. I think today Özil will have a big laugh about that joke. He surely has the last laugh when he will polish up his winners medal from the FA cup and the World Cup. Not that bad for a player who left Real Madrid and came to Arsenal.
Not even one year later he has won two major trophies and that might only be a start for him. When I was watching the celebrations yesterday I noticed a few things. The characters from the players was very much clear during the celebrations. Podolski was his usual madness himself. Mertesacker showing his passion for what they just achieved. And Özil…he was as cool and relaxed as usual.
I think by now we should know that Özil isn’t the player who likes to be the headline man. I think he will have been thrilled and will have been the happiest person in the world. But he keeps his emotions inside him most of the time. A smile on his face will appear from time to time but he rarely loses his cool in front of the cameras. He will not take the front row if it isn’t needed. Standing at the back is fine for him. I even saw a picture of him just sitting on the substitute bench after the match yesterday. With a big satisfied smile on his face telling: OK job done. What next. What’s missing? Oh a PL title maybe.
He is one of those people that if you would observe the group of German players you will hear Podolski laughing and shouting and saying things like AHA and making others laugh.
I think Mertesacker will behave like a wise father figure where you can go for a passionate word and some pep talk. Per who will also be a player who can say things to other players and correct them for their behaviour if needed. If you need someone to get advice from, I would take it from Per.
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And Özil would be a player you wouldn’t notice he was there. He will laugh with the rest but he will stay in the background. In articles that I have read the last weeks about him this image always came through: a quiet person who wants his feet to do the talking.
Some will say that he doesn’t show his passion enough. But that is not his game. His game is not about passion. It is about using your brain and feet to do the right thing at the right time. And passion is a bad thing when you want to use your head. I do think the passion of Özil is inside him. And let us not expect him to change. It might be bad for his football.
The way the English media treated him from time to time stands in big contrast with those who work with him. Because of his visible lack of passion they single him out for not doing enough. As if running around with foam coming out of your mouth kicking all that moves on a pitch is a sensible way of showing passion. It ‘s the fastest way (or should be) to a red card. And Özil’s football brain knows that getting a red card is bad. So he will not really want to go that way.
What the managers who work with him think about him is clear to see. The German manager will play him till the last minute of extra time in each match. Because he knows what he brings to a team. Wenger will play him whenever he can because he knows what he can bring to a team. And so did all his managers in fact in his career.
Özil brings movement to a team. He is constantly on the move and making sure the ball stays with the team. He can dribble, he can play the most deadly through balls to fast strikers. And well, we’ve got one of the fastest strikers in the world back soon. In one month, according to Flamini, Walcott will back and lets hope he is right. And with having bought Alexis, Özil can pick any of them with his vision and ability to play the right pass at the right time and at the right speed.
Of course the English media will be on his back until we have won all and every prize there is to win. I just hope that our fickle fans will not fall in to the media trap but instead use their own eyes and knowledge about Özil. Let’s give our respect to our Weltmeister. He was one of the best players in this tournament for Germany. And when he feels the love of the fans at Arsenal he will perform.
So let’s all sing to the tune of “Brazil”: La la la la la laa, Özil, Özil, Özil….’ Hope to see you soon in our new Puma shirt Weltmeister. Of course the same goes for all the German Weltmeisters that will come back to Arsenal in a few weeks time.
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