It looked like a bad decision for Mesut Ozil when the German moved from Real Madrid to Arsenal. Prior to joining Arsenal in 2013, the 31-year-old has won La Liga with Real and was named into the UEFA Team of the Year.
Leaving a club like Real Madrid that was performing well for Arsenal that was struggling then didn’t look like a good choice and that left many people talking. The move seems to be one of the best decisions of his life seeing as he has made the best of his career in Arsenal, being an integral part of the club with his passing prowess and creativity.
Then in 2013, Arsenal operated on a tight budget for player signings but Mesut Ozil’s signing had opened the door for big players’ signings as they signed Ozil for a club record fee of £42.5 million.
Ozil’s signing had changed everything for Arsenal both on and off the pitch. It can be said to be the moment that changed Arsenal’s financial outlook and also ended the club’s trophy drought.
Five seasons prior to Ozil’s arrival, Arsenal made more money on players in/outs but in the five years beginning with Ozil’s arrival year, the Gunners had a net spend of nearly £220 million. The massive fee that Arsenal paid Real for their star play-maker was certainly the start of this financial revolution with the club.
Has Ozil delivered?
The answer to this question presents itself in Ozil’s impressive stats. The German started off his season in Arsenal on fire. Although he joined Arsenal in September, towards the end of the season, he was able to put in five goals in his 26 appearances in the 2013/2014 calendar year. This leaves him at an average of 0.19 goals per match. In the same year, he had nine assists, 1,639 passes with an average of 63.04 passes per match, four big chances created, 16 through balls and 35% cross accuracy. He also had a total of 30 shots with 18 on target and 60% shot accuracy.
On the defense, Ozil had a total of 23 tackles with an average total of 70% tackle success. He had two block shots, six interceptions, two clearances and 111 recoveries. (Premier League Stat)
This impressive stat was for the 2013/2014 calendar year alone and the German has been improving even more since then with the 2015/2016 calendar year being his best so far.
In his 35 appearances that year, he had a total of six goals with an average of 0.17 goals per match. He had an impressive 19 assists, 2,276 passes and an average of 65.03 passes per match during which he created 28 big chances and had 42 through balls and 41% cross accuracy. He also had a total of 47 shots with 20 on target. (Premier League Stat)
How did Ozil end up playing less games?
This could be traced down to multiple minor injuries and illnesses but the main reason being a managerial change that saw in Unai Emery in 2018. This type of big change is very hard to adjust to and also considering how much Arsene Wenger meant to Ozil and vice versa. When the Frenchman retired as Arsenal manager in 2018 and Unai Emery was appointed head coach, it signaled a big shift in Özil’s career at the club.
It is true Ozil can excel with any coach but one can only assume the Ozil-Emery situation is a different case entirely.
The sad reality is that the German who once was part of the driving force in Arsenal might be leaving soon. If this happens, it would be a sad ending to a great relationship between player, club, and fan base.
Regardless of how it pans out, however, the German will go down as one of the most important players for the Gunners over the last decade or two.