When Arsenal signed Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid in 2013 for a then-club record fee of around £42.5 million it was supposed to signal a turning point in the Gunners’ history. After nearly a decade without silverware, the North London club were desperate to bring the glory days back and the arrival of one of the world’s most celebrated playmakers was an indication that Arsenal were once again on the up.
In a very tangible sense, it worked. At the end of the German’s first season at the Emirates Stadium, Arsene Wenger’s side lifted the FA Cup following a dramatic victory over Hull City. Ozil himself put in a fine performance in the final to help ensure that the club’s barren run came to an end.
Statistically, Ozil’s Arsenal career tells a certain story. For instance, he is the fastest player in Premier League history to reach 50 assists in the competition – doing so in 141 games.
However, there is another side to the 29-year-old’s adventure in red and white. It is a tale of huge contract demands, accusations of laziness, inconsistency, poor defensive contributions and a habit of going missing in the biggest games.
Now, as Arsenal’s highest ever paid player, having signed a big money contract extension in January, the arch-creator remains as divisive a figure as ever. What’s more, suspicions remain that he doesn’t naturally fit into new boss Unai Emery’s plans – an actuality that could have dire financial consequences for the club.
Ozil is a very good player, that is beyond doubt, but to Arsenal he represented a far greater dream and that has not been delivered upon. Given the investment that has been made into the player by the club, the fans have a right to expect more from Ozil.
What do you think, Arsenal fans? Has Ozil been a successful signing for the club or has he failed to live up to expectations at the Emirates?