In a summer that was meant to be a sea change, we almost didn’t even get the bloody doors open, let alone blow them off. In the end though, Arsenal’s whole transfer record went up in smoke with the signing of Mesut Özil for a staggering £42.5m.
That’s Mesut Ozil, formerly of Real Madrid, mainstay of Germany, a truly world-class talent, and let’s go a bit overboard about this because a) it’s the biggest statement since Bergkamp – with a nod to Sol Campbell – and b) it finally proves that we can now operate in football’s rarefied upper atmosphere.
It’s our biggest transfer by about £27.5m, Britain’s second biggest and – I read somewhere, correct me if I am wrong – the biggest fee a German footballer has ever gone for.
Hello transfer market – Arsenal are back.
Above all we have bought a true talent, a man who can unlock defences, provide killer passes, but also score goals, and his purchase gives our midfield some serious options. Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Ramsey, Flamini, Ozil, Walcott, Rosicky. Exciting.
But his signing represents other things too. Ambition – other teams and players may take note. Breathing time for Wenger, who’s going to ride this crest for a while. And a superstar on the books, which will have untold effects on our fabled ability to make money. Fans get giddy at this – I know I have, hell, I am even considering buying a shirt for the first time since 2006 – and the merchandise will fly off the shelves.
It means that our 60,012 attendances may actually get close to being 60,012. He’s a massive draw.
And it gives our players a boost – Wilshere is “absolutely buzzing“, Podolski is giving it the digital thumbs-up. It’s a shot in the arm for them, too.
This is what Real fans thought of his impending departure.
I can’t wait to see him play.
Also incoming is Almunia doppelganger Emiliano Viviano, whose misfortune it was to sign on the same day as Ozil, and who is very much a backup for Szczesny and Fabianski.
We needed a striker, but left it too late. That’s a big regret for me, and will probably need to be addressed in January. Fingers crossed for Giroud’s fitness (we’ve been here before, relying on one striker’s fitness…)
But overall, it’s all about the Ozil.
I’m excited. Can you tell?