One of the summer’s most talked-about transfer sagas came to an end on Tuesday when German midfielder Mezut Ozil completed his move from Werder Bremen to Real Madrid for a fee of €15 million (£12.4 million). Ozil chose to snub interest from Manchester United in favour of the Bernabeu where he will link up with fellow German international Sami Khedira who starred alongside Ozil in Germany’s World Cup campaign. However, Ozil may come to regret his decision to turn his back on playing in the Premier League.
If Ozil decided to join Manchester United instead of Real Madrid, he would have been presented with a real opportunity to become a Manchester United legend. I have previously written an article detailing how Ozil would be natural replacement for Paul Scholes in the Manchester United lineup. When Scholes does retire, Ozil could have been playing regularly at the highest level for 10 years at United and have a chance to write himself into United folklore. Instead, he has chosen to go to Real Madrid where he will be just one of many talented players vying for only a few spots in Real’s midfield.
Injury to Kaka increases Ozil’s chances of taking the field for Madrid in the coming months but the Brazilian’s injury does little to hide the fact that competition for places in midfield will be fierce. Already at the club are established performers such as Xabi Alonso, Lassana Diarra, Rafael van der Vaart, Fernando Gago and Mahamadou Diarra. Add to that mix recent signings Angel de Maria, Sami Khedira and exciting young prospect Sergio Canales and you get some impression of the challenge Ozil faces to be a first team regular.
Ozil will do well to heed the tale of his fellow teammate Karim Benzema who moved to the Bernabeu to much fanfare but has since seen his career falter in Madrid. Like Ozil, Benzema was heavily courted by Sir Alex Ferguson as a result of his impressive performances with Lyon but chose to join Los Merengues instead of Manchester United but has endured an indifferent first season in Spain.
Unlike his Manchester United counterpart, new Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho isn’t known for developing young talent and this could ultimately harm Ozil’s chances of transitioning from a world-class talent to a world-class star. Sir Alex Ferguson has an outstanding reputation for developing and nurturing young players. During his long tenure at the Old Trafford helm, Sir Alex has produced such players as Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham to go on to have long and successful careers at the highest level of the game.
Ozil’s talents are such that he has the ability to succeed anywhere he wishes to play. It’s just a shame it isn’t in the Premier League.