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Arsenal Stuck with Ozil, so Arteta Has to Make it Work

Emiliano Martinez, Mesut Ozil and the huge financial imbalance in ...

I remember the fanfare that arrived with Arsenal’s club-record signing of Mesut Ozil in September 2013. If I recall, we just defeated Tottenham with a deft Olivier Giroud finish which settled the contest and we had the international break to bask in the euphoria of the signing of the German superstar from Real Madrid, while some players on the Spanish outfit, notably Cristiano Ronaldo, expressed their displeasure with his departure. It took him just 11 minutes into his Arsenal debut to record his first assist for Giroud in the 3-1 win against Sunderland. After 26 games in his maiden campaign with the Gunners, Ozil notched up five goals and 10 assists. He crowned the campaign with the biggest prize in world football when Germany dominated the world stage in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 

In the following seasons, Ozil continued his fine form with his best assist haul (19) coming in the 2015/16 season while his best scoring haul arrived the season after with Ozil scoring 12 goals for the club, which actually turned to be his personal best in terms of goal scoring in his entire career. Then 2018 happened. Ozil struggled with form and fitness and with grumpy Alexis Sanchez close to the exit door, Arsenal had a big decision to make on his future, which ended up making him the highest paid player in the club’s history. That fat salary came with its fair share of expectations, and Arsenal fans can attest to the fact that Ozil isn’t the same player that he was in his early days with the club. The injuries certainly increased and the form was shabby as well. Then there were the off the field activities that raised a few eyebrows.

The man that brought Ozil to our beloved club left after 22 years of service and we expected Unai Emery to make the best out of his situation. Sadly, it was pretty much the same as he was ostracized from the team with the Spanish gaffer having little or no faith in the German playmaker. Their exchange when he got substituted for Joe Willock in the 2019 Europa League final proved to be the last straw and it was evident that Ozil was only going downhill from there. The shitefest with Emery ended in November 2019 and the young and vibrant Mikel Arteta joined the club, offering everyone a clean slate. Ozil looked like he had found a new lease of life under the new manager, featuring consistently as the creative hub in his 4-2-3-1 setup, and even notched up three assists (Norwich, Brighton and West ham) as well as a goal in the win against Newcastle. His work rate and distance covered also increased under Arteta’s tutelage. These are not staggering numbers by any margin but Arsenal was struggling from the depths Emery plunged them into, so every player had to pull their weight for the new gaffer, since he offered them a blank check, forgiving their previous footballing transgressions.

The COVID-19 pandemic took center stage and football was brought to an abrupt halt with the most faithful of fans having little optimism that we would see the beautiful game again, but it resumed in June with much excitement, even though Arsenal’s defeats against Man City and Brighton dampened the spirits, one thing that stood out was that there was no Mesut Ozil in the match day squad. With the games coming thick and fast, and squads heavily depleted from a fitness standpoint, one would expect that every manager would want to utilize the entirety of his squad, let alone, its highest earner, but not Arsenal. Ozil remained in oblivion as fans wondered what was really going on – footballing reasons or chronic back pain, bottom line was that Ozil was unavailable for selection, and we continued to struggle to create chances.

It was only expected that the fans would be expecting the club to cash in on an out-of-favor player with a huge salary and at least some worth in today’s transfer market this summer. However, Ozil’s recent interview with the Athletic (£) has revealed a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes but the conclusion we have gotten from the German playmaker is that he’s going nowhere and is still determined to prove his doubters wrong and make his mark on the team.

He has come to the public to share his thoughts on his situation and it’s clear that Arsenal have been pushed to the same corner similar to that of Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck, but with Raul Sanllehi declaring that we will be faced in such a situation again, it is going to be a very dicey situation to say the least. 

Let’s stick to the realities we are clearly aware of – Mesut Ozil is still contracted to Arsenal for one more season before he’s going to be available on a free transfer, and we are certain that the likes of Fenerbahce, Istanbul Basaksehir and co will be licking their lips at the prospect of having such a talented footballer in their ranks. However, the onus is on Mikel Arteta and the club to steer the ship in the right direction and make this upcoming campaign a sort of make-or-break type for Ozil, that’s if the executive decision is not to sell him despite his recent comments.

He’s still a very valuable player to the squad, capable of scoring a goal or two and most importantly, creating chances for his teammates. This is a player that has notched up 28 goals and 53 assists in 155 appearances for the club – and we know that he creates a whole lot of chances that don’t get converted so those assist numbers don’t do justice. Yes, we are clamoring for Philippe Coutinho and the magic he can bring to the side, but we still have a player in Ozil that is still capable of so much more – but he has to be given that chance to prove his worth.

Arsenal is stuck with Mesut Ozil, so Arteta has to make it work.


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Players with Expiring Contracts: Sell, Renew or Release?

Players - Arsenal

Both players contracts expire in 2021

Players within the current Arsenal setup will reach that point when the manager, Mikel Arteta, will make the decision on whether to renew their current deals, release them on a free transfer or sell them without batting an eyelid.

Arsenal, like every well run business oriented football club, handed contracts to certain individuals with the aim of enhancing their chances of winning trophies but as we all know, it does not work out every time for some of these lads. Gooner Daily takes a look at those players with deals expiring in 18 months’ time and provide some thoughts on whether the club’s stance should be to renew their contracts, release them or sell them to new employers.

Dani Ceballos: 17 apps, one goal (2020)

Losing a player like Aaron Ramsey was a bitter pill to swallow for every Arsenal fan, especially with the fact that he does not feature on a consistent basis for Juventus. Raul Sanllehi pushed some strings and Arsenal signed Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid, which came with some good buzz and fanfare.

We witnessed him dazzle crowds for his nation, Spain, in the Under-21 European Championships, and he even took the number vacated by Ramsey, so we expected much from him. Bar the Burnley game early in the season where he shone like a bright star, Ceballos struggled for fitness making him a liability to the club, than an asset.


Ceballos celebrating his only goal for the Gunners

We still have five months left in the campaign and the fans expect him to contribute to the cause but he has been an underwhelming signing thus far.

Verdict: Release 

Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 61 apps, five goals (2021)

At 31, Sokratis enjoyed a career where he featured in Greece (Apollon Petalidiou, GS Niki Volou and AEK Athens) before he moved to Italy to play for Genoa and AC Milan. The Italian adventure ended a decade ago, as he went to seek green pastures in SV Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund before Arsenal came calling last season.

Since his arrival at the club, he has had his good moments and loads of shaky ones as well, but Arsenal fans can not beat their chest in confidence to say that they have an awesome defender in him. With the exciting William Saliba returning to the club after his loan spell at St. Etienne expires this summer, folks know that Sokratis would live on borrowed time, till the inevitable happens at the end of the 2020/21 season.

Did I tell you that I loved his run out as a right back in the FA Cup clash against Leeds?

Verdict: Release

Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 59 apps, nine goals (2021)

Where to start? Oh yes! The worst swap deal in football history, to Arsenal and Manchester United fans at least. We believed that the talent and ability was there for all to see. This was the same lad that scored 41 goals and created 38 assists in three seasons at Borussia Dortmund.

Players Arsenal Mkhitaryan

We thought they would forge a good partnership

What we got instead was an inconsistent and underwhelming player that sat on his fat pay check and did not contribute as expected. Heck, Arsenal even sold Alex Iwobi to Everton and preferred to give Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith-Rowe run outs in the team, while shipping Mkhitaryan off to AS Roma on transfer deadline day.

I have thrown more light on the Mkhitaryan issue in a an article I published at Gunners Town.

Verdict: Sell (but not for that paltry €10m Roma offered us)

Shkodran Mustafi: 125 apps, five goals (2021)

No need to waste any comments here!

Verdict: Sell with a thanks for buying hamper for good measure 

David Luiz: 22 apps, one goal (2021)

Arsenal did not resume this season with any plans of buying a player from Chelsea, especially David Luiz, that had lost his starting berth in the team to the younger and more exuberant defenders like Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori. The club’s captain, Laurent Koscielny, for reasons best known to Lord Voldemort, Darth Vader and Chuck Norris, bailed out of the club he served for nine years, leaving us in the lurch.

With Rob Holding injured, we had just Calum Chambers, Mustafi and Sokratis as the only available defenders for the campaign and those numbers were short by all standards. In what I, and many fans would regard as a surprise, Arsenal snapped up David Luiz from Chelsea.

We are already aware of his limitations as a player, and we commend him for the decent shift he has put this season but we are certain he would not be a Gunner beyond next season.

Verdict: Release

Mesut Ozil: 246 apps, 43 goals (2021)

Mesut Ozil continues to remain a divisive figure at the club but in recent times, his fortunes changed, especially with Mikel Arteta making him the hub of the team. I know that since he signed that whooping £350,000 per week deal in January 2018, the jury was out for him to perform wonders in the team but it ended in disappointment.

However, I see a different beast in Ozil and we are odds on to see him come back to his best under the tutelage of the new inspiring gaffer.

Verdict: Renew

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 90 apps, 56 goals (2021)

“I would also like to react to some of the rumors going around about me in the media.”

“People like making up stories and they should focus on what’s happening on the pitch. They talk too much and it does my head in!

“I am the Arsenal captain, I love this club, I am committed to it and desperate to bring it back to the top, where it belongs.”

Quotes from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the year of our Lord, 2020.

Verdict: Renew


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Arsenal’s Best Ever Premier League Midfielders

Arsenal has had some special midfield players in the Premier League and we look at the cream of the crop.

Arsenal supporters might not be too delighted with the team’s performances or results at the moment, although the Gunners are still among the best teams in England and they won their 13th FA Cup in May 2017 to become the most successful club in that competition.

In this article, we look at some of the best midfield players to don the red and white during the Premier League era, with the supporters being royally treated to a high caliber in this position over the years.

  1. Mesut Ozil

We start with a modern day player and Ozil has largely shone for Arsenal since arriving in 2013 from Real Madrid, with the German helping the Gunners win three FA Cups, while he was also the Premier League’s top assist provider during the 2015-16 campaign. That was an exemplary campaign for the German maestro as he provided assist after assist with each passing game, while playing some mesmerizing football.

The 29-year-old generally operates as an advanced playmaker who is comfortable playing on either flank or in a central position, with his trickery making him one of the most skillful players to ever wear an Arsenal shirt.

  1. Paul Merson

Younger football fans might only be familiar with Merson through his work with Sky Sports, although this was a player who made a grand total of 327 appearances for the Gunners and he managed to score 78 times between 1985-1997. Merson could play in a variety of roles across the midfield area, with the Londoner originally playing in a right-wing position although George Graham started to play him in a more advanced and central position as his career continued.

  1. Cesc Fabregas

While it rankles with Arsenal supporters to see the Spaniard now operating for Chelsea, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Fabregas was a real breakthrough star with the Gunners, making his debut at the tender age of seventeen (sparking the chant “he’s only seventeen, he’s better than Roy Keane”). The departure of Patrick Vieira saw Fabregas given the number four shirt and he quickly became the team’s midfield general. The lad had everything in his locker and controlled countless games as a box-to-box midfielder.

Image result for cesc fabregas arsenal

Fabregas became Arsenal captain during the 2008 / 09 season and should really have won more silverware with the club than a solitary FA Cup in 2005.

  1. Robert Pires

Pires spent six happy seasons at Arsenal and was part of the Invincibles team that went unbeaten in the Premier League during the 2003 / 04 campaign. The Frenchman was a fast attacking player who was especially noted for his link-up play with Thierry Henry, often forming a telepathic understanding.

Between 2002 to 2004, Pires was included in the PFA Team of the Year, with the midfielder having the knack of scoring spectacular goals as well as brilliant technical skill to beat opponents.

  1. Patrick Vieira

Vieira can lay claim to being the best ever Premier League player of all time. Between 1996-2005, he made 279 appearances for the Gunners and was the driving force behind them winning multiple trophies during this time.

Like Pires, the Frenchman was instrumental in Arsenal going unbeaten during 2003-4, with the team captain proving to be combative in midfield where he was able to win the ball back and distribute accordingly to more skilful team-mates.

Vieira had a long loping gait and one of the Premier League’s most iconic images is the player roving forward with the ball at his feet after dispossessing the opposing team.


We’d like to offer a big shout out to the football tipsters at for contributing this article.


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