Arsenal’s Signing of Mesut Ozil Doesn’t Address the Holes Where the Team Needs Strengthening

As the clock struck 11pm in England on Monday, the summer transfer window and so-called silly season came to a close. A transfer window that had a lot of movement and broke several records culminating in the most money spent in one window, with a total of £630million. Teams smashed their own club records. Tottenham’s moves for Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela made them break their own transfer record three times. And of course, there was Gareth Bale’s world record move to Real Madrid.

Before the window started, everyone was expecting Arsenal and Manchester United to spend big. United craved new additions to their midfield but failed with bids for Cesc Fabregas, Thiago, Ander Herrera and Sami Khedira. All that left Manchester United with, at the end, was a last minute deal for Marouane Fellaini — a deal that could have happened in late July when the Belgian’s release clause could have given Manchester United an opportunity to sign the midfielder for £23million. Instead, United left the deal to the last minute and spent £27.5million.

At the Emirates, Arsenal fans were expecting a bumper summer of transfer signings. With the club continuing to make money and having paid off their stadium debt, Arsene Wenger finally had money to spend. A team that needed desperate improvement after a fabulous run at the end of the season only just saw them nick the final Champions League place from their fierce rivals Tottenham.

This was the summer that was going to see Arsenal spend big, sign world class players and have a squad that could finally challenge for major trophies once again. But since the transfer window opened on July 1, Arsenal had only signed Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Flamini, both on frees. Defeat against Aston Villa at home on the opening day of the season piled even more pressure on Wenger to spend. But the lack of signings was not without trying.

Failed moves for Luis Gustavo, Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez  saw Arsenal still without a world class striker and a strong holding midfielder. But on deadline day, Wenger finally dipped into his transfer kitty and smashed the club transfer record by signing Real Madrid’s Mesut Ozil for £42.4million.

Ozil is one of the best playmakers in the world. His stats say it all and he truly is a world-class player. The German has proven his qualities at Madrid and tore England apart in South Africa during the World Cup in 2010. With the arrival of Gareth Bale and Isco, Ozil was no longer needed at Madrid and was forced out.

Although Ozil is a brilliant signing for Arsenal, is he a player that they really need? Their squad is worryingly thin. And after clearing out all their fringe players, only bringing in four players is slightly worrying. A quality goalkeeper to compete with Wojciech Szczesny was needed and although they signed Emiliano Viviano on loan, a top class keeper is still required. They made no additions to their defense, and this is an area of the pitch that Arsenal look vulnerable. Highlights of the Aston Villa game show their defensive frailties and not strengthening their back line may come back to haunt them if injuries occur.

A central defensive midfielder and a world class striker were also needed. Teams look to bully Arsenal and with no real leader in the midfield since Patrick Vieira left, teams will continue to look to dominate Arsenal in midfield. With Olivier Giroud’s impressive start to the season, a quality striker may not be so high on some Arsenal fans wish list. But if there is an injury to the Frenchman or he starts to lose form, Arsenal will struggle to replace him. Sanogo is inexperienced and will struggle to lead the line for a top club and Theo Walcott is better from the right and doesn’t have the presence to play upfront on his own. Lukas Podolski could do the job but he is currently injured until the end of the year. Nicklas Bendtner has always struggled for form and is not the player he thinks he is.

Arsenal’s signing of Ozil is an incredible one. However other areas of the pitch needed strengthening before signing a playmaker. A lot of Gunners will be excited by the German’s arrival and have every right to be. He oozes class. However, this deal distracts some fans attentions away from the problems that Arsenal have in their team and have not addressed.

Although the signing could be a change in fortune at The Emirates, the deal could be likened to that of Frank Ribery to Bayern Munich in 2007. Munich were struggling in Europe and begun to build their squad and stopped buying mediocre players. The Ribery deal gave them the confidence and the ability to buy some of the world’s best players and just six years on, Bayern Munich are the best team in Europe.

Arsenal will do well this year but qualifying for the Champions League is as much as they can expect. Their squad is too thin and teams will continue to look to bully them. However next summer, they must build on this Ozil deal and strengthen in the areas that need it most. That is the only way they can improve and challenge for major honors.

18 thoughts on “Arsenal’s Signing of Mesut Ozil Doesn’t Address the Holes Where the Team Needs Strengthening”

  1. Since January 1 Arsenal have had the best record in the league. People overreacted from their opening day loss to Villa.

    Ozil makes them stronger than they were and will cement their top 4 status. They may even challenge for the title given that City, United and Chelsea all have new managers and this will be a very open title race. There’s more continuity at Arsenal than at any of the other top teams. They’ve brought in fewer players but have strenghtened.

    Every club has weaknesses or holes to plug. That doesn’t mean that they have no chance of challenging for trophies. Arsenal has a decent squad which should serve them well this season, barring serious injuries.

  2. Kudos 2 d big boss arsene wenger 4 d job well done w@ an excellent signing. We need more of ozil and also our defend need 2 be strenghten congratulation 2 all fans of arsenal.

  3. This narrative is really tired about Arsenal needing a defensive center midfielder and the defense looking shaky. Arsenal were second last season in goals against. Tactically Arsenal don’t play with a traditional defensive center midfielder instead opting for either a double-pivot (Ramsey, Wilshere and Song, Wilshere 2 seasons ago) or Arteta who acts more as a recycler of possession and less of a brute ball winner. What Arsenal lacked last season was a penetrative playmaker able to unlock opposition defenses. The team scored one or fewer goals in roughly half of their games. It’s lazy to say that they have plenty of finesse and not enough strength. A striker was certainly needed this window that is where Arsenal will struggle but the addition of the versatile Flamini creates plenty of depth across the back 4 and middle 2 of Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1.

    1. Ha, my name’s Cody as well. I was going to make more or less the exact same comments. Very well said.

      The only thing I would add is that there is no reason we couldn’t play a false 9 with good success, should there be an injury, or slump in form of Giroud.

      1. Woah!!! Are you me? Haha, yeah I agree although I like the direct option that Giroud gives us. Adds such a useful dimension to our game. But yeah, if he gets hurt or needs a rest I absolutely think we could play with a false 9 where all of the front 4 players are interchangeable. That’s tough to defend.

  4. Theo is going to smash it with Ozil supplying him with MEGGA DEADLY PASSES. Podolski Theo Santi Giroud Ox Jack Rosicky Arteta Flamini Ramsey Diaby and… OZIL . Outrageous splendid brilliant can’t f**king wait over the moon stupid happy.

  5. I think we hav a vri wonderful squad n d Ozil deal is a world beater n EPL’s signing of d Summer. Dat nt withstandin I think ad writer’s right cos we need squad depth both in numbers n quality in our defence n attack lines. Just 1 top class CB lyk Williams and a Forward like Lewandowski or Yilmaz or Jackson Martinez would’ve made us completely complete n mayb invincible (afta d Aston Villa home loss). I do hope d january windows resolves dis. COYG!!!

  6. Very happy about signing Ozil, but definitely agree we could still use the help up front and in the back… regardless, the season outlook has become somewhat brighter with this signing.

  7. Yawn. I’ve read this column 100 different times today. Does anyone watch Arsenal? They don’t play with a defensive mid. And their defensive record was second best last year. Conceding goals is hardly their problem. Creating chances when teams play ten men behind the ball is the problem. Well done, Arsene.

  8. Liam you have completely missed the mark with this article.

    Arsenal need Özil more than any other player they sunny after this window. Since Cesc left they have desperately needed somebody to fill his boss and Özil is that player. They have relied too heavily on Cazorla last year and the fatigue he showed on the end of the season proved it. He brings the entire team together and adds that creative dimension Arsenal thrive on.

    The squad did need more depth but when all our injured players come back they are all LANS! Plus Özil gives arsenal depth not just in the midfield but it could push Podolski to #2 CF and even Theo #3 CF.

    Arsenal score more than Manchester City and conceded less goals than Manc UTD. In the Villa game SZCZ had an Almunia moment and gave a penalty and the penalty on Koscielny was harsh. Sometimes you don’t get a break but with Özil in the team maybe the Arsenal put the game to bed before all those shenanigans.

    Özil is a world class engine for Arsenal that can create and score those game winners. He is the perfect Arsenal signing and it would have been an even more perfect window if some squad players were added for depth but that doesn’t cheapen Özil’s importance.

  9. I think this blogger is looking things from another perspective, I was somehow curious while reading this article. The fact is signing of another player will surely make some future youth totally useless. Their is absolutely no space in d defence line where arsenal don’t have at least 2 obtions. Moreover comparing the current arsenl team with other toP EPL team will show that Arsenal squard is one of the best now.if u don’t agree with me, U can state at least 4 teams, who have top quality better than we do now in EPL. Haters should just relax and see what these ARSENAL team have got to offer. Gunners forever…

  10. Keepers
    Wojciech Szczesny
    Emiliano Viviano
    Lukasz Fabianski
    Bacary Sagna
    Per Mertesacker
    Thomas Vermaelen
    Laurent Koscielny
    Nacho Monreal
    Carl Jenkinson
    Kieran Gibbs
    Tomas Rosicky
    8 Mikel Arteta
    Jack Wilshere
    11 Mesut Ozil
    Aaron Ramsey
    Santi Cazorla
    Mathieu Flamini

    Emmanuel Frimpong
    Ryo Miyaichi
    Lukas Podolski
    Olivier Giroud
    Theo Walcott
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    Yaya Sanogo

    u can easily pick a starting 11 from here and still have a good bench. Let’s just hope arteta, veminator, ox and poldosky come back from injury. U can easily pick a starting 11 and still have a gud bench.
    sagna mat kos gibs
    ramsey flamini
    wallcott ozil carzola

    we still have a bench of
    rosisky, monrel, jekinson, wilshare, fringpong, rio, fabiansky, yaya. But wen d squad is injury free. Poldosky. Ox. Arteta, veminator. Dat mean yaya. Rio fringpong will no longer make our bench. D bench will look like.

    Fabiansky, jekinson, monrel, rosisky, poldosky, veminator, ox if u’ve noticed i’ve not mention players like nick bent. diaby, park, cos de are abuse 2 dis arsenal team. Our squad is gud.

  11. I agree that the squad could add another defender and backup striker, but when you have an opportunity to sign one of the best players in the world, you don’t pass that up. Wenger for all his dithering, played his cards right and thanks to Spurs selling off Bale, was able to get someone of Ozil’s quality.

  12. Some just never stop complaining. Be happy with the signing. He is not “one of the best creative midfielders in the world.” Ozil is THE BEST CREATIVE MIDFIELDER IN THE WORLD. More assists than any other player over the last 5 years in the top 5 leagues of Europe.

    This is a sign of things to come. Stop wanting everything now; Wenger has a plan, just be happy for once that The Arsenal just did a great thing and trust the next two windows will continue to promote us forward with more quality. Would Ozil after talking to Wenger on the phone really have signed if he thought there was a lack of ambition? Trust Wenger told Ozil he is just the beginning. Trust that we were only on LOAN for Ba and not bringing him in is fine because the next two windows will also see a world class striker come in.

    Stop crying about defensive frailty. The squad is thin from a numbers standpoint, it DOES NOT LACK QUALITY. Take points in 2013 and Arsenal would be TOP OF THE LEAGUE. We has point wise and goal wise the NUMBER 2 DEFENSE IN THE LEAGUE LAST CAMPAIGN.

    Perhaps Wenger knows what he is doing and perhaps he has a different view than you in how to build a squad (Arsenal fans should be thankful of that fact). He does not want a traditional ball winning holding midfielder. He wants a double pivot in the middle with a defensive triangle that all are technical enough and smart enough to keep the ball. That is also why he favors a guy like Cazorla playing as a false 11 checking into the midfield from the wing, which by the way is something Ozil can do too. In short, his tactics are probably different than the people who whine about not having a defensive midfielder; they are very Dutch and very Spanish in the team set up. The record in 2013 defensively with Bould joining first team set up has convinced him that they can sit in front of goal and absorb attacks and when they get the ball they then can quick counter or play keep ball and the record proves it.

    Picture taking the ball away from a starting front 6 of Ozil, Giroud, Cazorla, Walcott, Ramsey, Wilshire and an overlapping Gibbs and Sagna. They are built to defend, quick counter and keep the ball. Like it or not, this is Arsenal. The drama some bring with not bringing in what “we need” is wrong and it is misplaced with not understand the game and what he is actually building. He is bringing in exactly what we need and he will continue to splash the cash in the next two windows because Ozil wouldn’t join when he could have gone anywhere if he actually thought Arsenal would end spending with him.

    Get on the bus.

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