I’m on Emery’s side in the Ozil saga

Head coach blameless for a situation he inherited

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Mesut Ozil – An expensive dilemma

Mesut Ozil made his first league start for three months at the end of February, in a game against Bournemouth. Along with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, he masterfully pulled the strings. It was exactly what you want from a number 10: expressive and incisive play, carving open the opposition and creating goal-scoring chances.  A goal, an assist and an all-round top performance, making it look easy.

The problem is, it doesn’t happen often enough for Mesut (nor for Henrikh, but that’s another story). Bournemouth was the perfect game for Ozil because the opposition was, relatively speaking, weak. It was a great chance for him to show his silky skills and play some smooth passes, and generally distract from the fact he never pulls his weight in the big games, nor finds consistency even in smaller ones.

Ozil was made captain against Bournemouth in a strange move by Emery which marked the latest part of the pair’s long-running mind-games battle. On the one hand we’re told Ozil has a future at Arsenal, that he has a lot to offer and that he is working hard in training. On the other, he barely plays and we hear he’s having mysteriously repetitive back spasms or has contracted another of his regular minor illnesses, or simply that his exclusion was ‘tactical’.

Confusing as the seemingly conflicting information we receive is, I’m with Emery on this one. Whoever made the decision to give Ozil the contract we produced in Janurary 2018 – Ivan Gazidis?  It was a poor move. Even Arsene, Ozil’s most avid supporter, has admitted this now. The contract has not only prolonged and intensified the problem of having a player on our books who regularly goes missing, both within games and by not being available to play in them, and who demonstrates a generally questionable attitude on and off the pitch. It also precludes us from acquiring or keeping other players who might be of more use, because we can’t finance their deals.

There can be little doubt that the reported three hundred and fifty grand Ozil pockets every week has encouraged other players to ask for bumper deals in return for staying at the club. Ramsey is an obvious example.  He could fairly argue for a wage far beyond his value once Ozil had been given the nod for a huge pay increase. We are doubly hamstrung by this: the players’ demands have gone up, and our ability to meet them has gone down.

Furthermore, Doling out well over a million a month to Mesut is particularly hard to justify at a time when transfer money is scarce and we can only afford to take players on loan.

It all goes back to the mishandling of the Sanchez contract. Because we lost him on a free, we felt had we had to keep Ozil at all costs, or be the laughing stock of the league, unable to hold onto our players. So, over a barrel, we coughed up. Not only that, we took Mkhitaryan on a massive wage too. He’s not been without moments of quality but he’s not exactly set the league alight either – though at the time of writing he has recently put together a few good performances. Together, some reports suggest, they take home 575k a week. Imagine what we could do with that money.

We can’t get rid of Ozil at the moment because nobody will pay his wages, and he refuses to go out on loan. So we have two choices: play him, and pass up the only means we have to show him we aren’t satisfied; or regularly leave him out until he either accepts he has to go elsewhere and take a pay cut, or bucks his ideas up and starts delivering on the pitch week in, week out.

It’s probably clear by now which side I’m on. There are many Ozil-lovers out there among the Arsenal fans who will disagree with me (and don’t get me wrong, I know he has quality), but, so far as we have to choose, we should be behind Emery in dealing with this difficult problem he has inherited. Indeed, we should sympathize – he has come to us from PSG, with a player in Neymar who seems about as easy to manage as Mario Balotelli. We cannot allow something similar to happen here, where a player is indulged in their belief that they are bigger than the club.


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  1. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Mar 6, 2019, 18:43 #113370

    Some really good comments on this thread, Markymark, you mentioned Utd and I read that they are freezing season ticket prices for the 8th year in a row - that is how you invest in your fans. Ron, your take on SKY is exactly my view, the continuous art of stating the bleeding obvious with "star" pundits getting a million sobs a year, quoting stuff most 10 year old fans already know. The latest garbage is Liverpool blowing the title - they have lost one game this season, away to Citeh. Definitely think giving Emery a contract extension is very sound idea and would give the man and Arsenal a proper chance.

  2. itsRonagain2

    Mar 6, 2019, 17:46 #113369

    Hi Lads - agree with both of you. I think with a clear steer by a new owner or even SK Arsenal could really do well, without spending mega bucks that we dont have. They need to give Dick a clear direction and back him even if it means some hard times ahead in investing in our own home grown players and allowing him and his advisers to bring in quality players too.. AFC have always prided them selves on innovation. Dicks a good lad and they should know that now. Why then, not give him a fixed term unbreakable 3 year contract from June so he knows hes got full sway on building a team and hes not then working at risk of the sack? It ll cut any player power risk of downing tools which seems endemic in football these days and reinforce his power over players. AFC would certainly break the mould if they did that by actually giving a Coach some security. I dont know about you guys but im sick to the back teeth of managers losing their jobs on the back of SKY tv s loser pundits and never beens spouting innuendo, brick bats and veiled insults being delivered to the screens every time a match is lost. The fans who are too daft to see what theyre doing then swallow that stuff and jump on the coaches back. I like the Atletico analogy youve suggested as possible and am more than content see the club have some time to build some fibre and back bone again. That will then in turn give us an identity. I dont think Dick for one minute would make it a flakey, brittle identity the same as Wenger fostered. Hes made of sterner stuff and wants his teams to show it i feel. He gives me the impression hes a very genuine and driven man. If they dont back him, he ll leave and leave quite soon im guessing.

  3. Bard

    Mar 6, 2019, 17:13 #113368

    Very good post Ron. There is something not right with the club and hasnt been for a long while. My view is that it was allowed to drift under Wenger. There was no coaching, no structure behind the scenes, no youth policy and an owner who doesnt give a f*** about the club. Under those circumstances it's difficult to get things going. I think Dick is a straightforward football man but it remains to be seen whether he can achieve anything with the constraints he is under. To achieve something Arsenal need an identity. At the moment we as sure as hell dont have one. Markymark you make a good point about the cyclical nature of football. Let's hope this isnt the beginning of the dark ages.

  4. markymark

    Mar 6, 2019, 15:22 #113367

    Hi Ron , yep can’t really disagree with that view. I suppose the thing is . Football does go in cycles . We mention City a lot but Chelsea really have competed with them . Now its Liverpool and to a degree Spurs. We’re not too far off I feel

  5. itsRonagain2

    Mar 6, 2019, 14:08 #113366

    Hi Marky - to a degree i think its Arsenal who want to have it both ways really. One one hand theyve had their 'system' of paying high wages so to try and keep players loyal under AW and also they have actually made some pretty expensive signings but sadly on players who in the main arent near the prices paid. They continue to spend on 30 to 40 mill type players who also in the main have proved average to poor quality. While they do all of this they always talk as if theyre a club who really are top notch and who can and want to challenge the top teams. The advantage we all have nowadays is that we all know its lies and flannel and always has been. AFC are in a good position to become a sort of Atletico as you suggest but sadly the club lacks the honestly, courage and integrity to nail its colours to that type of mast for fear that they wont look like a stellar club. On this latter point its my opinion that AFC shed its principles and 'DNA' many a long year ago, but they hope on a daily basis that nobody has noticed! Arsenal are a club torn. What they really want is beyond what theyre prepared to do under the current model and they suffer trying to reconcile conflicting ideas. The club needs a new owner with a new clear direction. Theyre a replica of Liverpool under Hicks and Gillet. Liverpool have fans though who werent prepared to be fed and then asked to swallow the sh--te. Theres the major difference.

  6. markymark

    Mar 6, 2019, 12:00 #113364

    I’m mostly there with SKG - but just one thing I’d pick up with is that even though Woodward at Man U can appear a bit of a laughing stock, when it comes to doing financial sponsorship deals is absolutely 2nd to none. He developed UTD from working with 6 companies to 90. Their growth in turnover is double ours over the same period. So even allowing for the UTD world wide base ( slightly hyped in my view ) he smashed it in comparison to Ivan. Where UTD went wrong was giving him control over transfers which has been part of their recent issues. The problem for the supporters is we cannot have it both ways. If we want an Athletico type club it will takes some time and lots of failures along the way. If we want a stellar club we may have to abandon all principles and DNA with risk of catastrophe. Probably designating specialists to a specific roles in the executive is the best route forward in terms of bringing us on. For those who hate the corruption and stink of modern football you should raise a toast tonight to Rui Pinto the creator of football leaks. He is the reason City and Chelsea along with Ronaldo are having issues in court at the moment . He could as easily come after Arsenal though as well. He’s purely trying to expose corruption. So let’s hope our house is in order

  7. itsRonagain2

    Mar 5, 2019, 17:22 #113363

    Hi Cyril. A few of do hark back to GG times, quite true matey. Its a search for a football club again that we seek. I agree with SKG on this. Arsenal arent spending big money on top marque players any time soon. They dont have the cash and SK doesn't have the desire if he did. The clubs happy with 4th to 7th. No good opening up the old spend spend spend debate again. The fans need to smell the coffee. Theyve spent and wasted millions of £s of wasted wages on waster players for 10 years and more. Thats what AFC excel at. The Ozil issue is the tip of the iceberg.

  8. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Mar 5, 2019, 10:27 #113362

    Cyril, I think you will find that the club have spent, 350K every week on Ozil, that was kind of the point of Paddy's piece. Players like Bendtner were on more money 10 years back than Kane was on up to his last contract, it is why Ramsey is leaving and why no decent player will join us unless he gets parity with MO - frankly it's a mess and Emery, like Graham had to, has to clean out the stables. I do think we have some very good young players who could, if given a chance, land some big silverware for Arsenal, not on their own but some sensible signings and it is possible. Leicester did it and I for one hang on to the believe that it can happen again, I know times have changed since GG but man management is still the same art - whatever the times or the culture differences, some can do it, others cannot - George could do it very well indeed.

  9. Cyril

    Mar 5, 2019, 02:01 #113361

    Total and absolute nonsense. The days of GG and the eighties are well and truly over. Back in the day, they used to go over the cafe on Blackstock Rd after training. That was on a good day, if it wasn’t Tuesday. What a load of twaddle. There are no players at Arsenal who will win us the title anytime soon. Either, you spend or you spend, if not you don’t win the league. If I had the choice of the two I would spend. Good grief !

  10. mbg

    Mar 4, 2019, 22:06 #113360

    All these years and we still haven't learned our lesson over player contracts, this makes the Bentner one look tame, lets hope this one is the last. The person or persons who landed us or left us with the Ozil situation needs, i was going to say shooting but maybe that's a bit extreme, lets say stripped naked and chased around the pitch by half a dozen fans with i meter long bamboo canes.

  11. itsRonagain2

    Mar 4, 2019, 19:47 #113359

    SKG - a wonderful and accurate comment. I d only go far as to say that no club can catch up with MC s financial position, not us , not MU nor Liverpool or Chelsea. SK neither has the money or the interest anyway.So far as this title race goes we should all be backing Liverpool if we were true to some semblance of value and logic. Theryve speant well and them owners at least appear to like football. Theyre the nearest to us in terms of club size and resources, though their history does make them a more formidable Club in so many respects i accept. Sadly, i cant dredge it from within myself to back them. Never could stand them even in their glory triple decade period and the SKY and Co TV support they get is excruciatingly cringe-worthy, not to mention utterly stupid. The best i can hope for is that them and MC are both found to be corrupt and thrown out of the PL in the next few weeks and that MU and then Chelsea both become insolvent and disappear into history like Accrington Stanley. Then, we might get football back into a condition where the fans are part of their clubs and not accessories of TV companies who pay lip service to and tolerate them.

  12. John F

    Mar 4, 2019, 19:15 #113358

    Spot on Sk and George went on a run of 10 games without a win in his first season .Can you imagine if that happened now the fans on social media would of been calling for his head.

  13. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Mar 4, 2019, 17:47 #113357

    We are hamstrung by the obsession that we must appear to be a big club, so we have to have so called "big players". Arsenal have fallen a long way since we left Highbury and cannot close the financial gap on Citeh or Manchester United, our owner won't allow it to be closed and to be honest are we just sitting waiting for billions of dollars to pour into our coffers so we can win major trophies - I sincerely hope not. When George Graham came to Arsenal he inherited 5 or 6 "big players" but he had a different vision for Arsenal - he cleared out the "stars" and replaced them with hungry players and won the league at a very rich club's ground 3 years later - what an amazing achievement. The fans must give Emery time to fashion his vision of Arsenal - the owner is not going help him so he needs the fans onside, hopefully Emery will recruit carefully in the summer and please give 3 or 4 of our young guns a chance - they certainly deserve it.

  14. Exiled in Pt

    Mar 4, 2019, 13:42 #113356

    Good post and good comments form Cyril & Ron, me personally If the club are prepared to take a hit then i agree cash in but i dont think they are prepared to do that . I think to get the best from him he has to play regularly and have the coaches arm wrapped round him massaging his ego . Not playing him is not going to help selling him , give him the last 9 games to shine and make a case for someone to want to buy him. If he turns it on we will benefit either way . I think it is almost a bit of Dick feeling he needs to make some sort of point as the media claimed he could not handle the big stars at PSG !

  15. itsRonagain2

    Mar 4, 2019, 11:34 #113353

    Is he realy as good as they say? Hes certainly not Ozil 2010 standard and not worth the pay hes gets. Get rid. Take the hit. Be done with it. There are more deserving candidates to play than this weak kneed prim dona. The Club will gain in the longer term by disposing of the Ozil saga. I ll never forget the 5-1 at Anfield 3 yrs or so ago. The way he still about vacant while they ran us ragged was sickening. The only cameo performances hes ever given have all been v rubbish teams.

  16. Cyril

    Mar 4, 2019, 09:15 #113351

    This is a debate to be had. A tricky sitch. On the one hand, he doesn’t play enough, but it is in the end an act of self harm to not try to get him ready to play as much as possible. I would even get him his own sports psychologist if need be. Why? And in no order of preference: He is on 350 a week and he ain’t going anywhere for a while. On the pitch, when he gets into his favoured areas, which for me is central or moving into a central position, he is deadly. We all know this. Ramsey is leaving. I can see him playing more centrally next season ‘in game’. Kolasinac, can do his defensive work. Not ideal, but it is what it is. Be interesting to see how he will play him next year when he doesn’t play 3 at the back. The game evolves (or regresses) dependent on your take. The big tackles have gone from the game and any contact, we look to the ref for his wisdom. I spend more time looking at the ref in hope these days, then watching the game. (sad times). I’m on the side that this is regression. Next year Guendouzi only improves. Finally, to have a player in this day and age who can open up defences like this, has to be worked with. There is so much protection for these kind of players. Whether we like the situation or not, looking at positives is the only way a positive outcome will occur whilst he has his contract.