With Arsenal facing Sunderland later today, Vincent Ralph turns the spotlight on their record signing.
On a weekend when many new faces will be pulling on a variety of new shirts, there is one who stands out as being worthy of today’s Spotlight.
When Arsenal signed Mesut Ozil on transfer deadline day, it was the headline news that so often does not happen on that most anticlimactic of occasions.
For all the fanfare generated by Sky Sports News and the gossip columns, the final day of the transfer window is all too often a let-down. But this year its reputation was saved in no small part by the £42.4million signing of a German superstar.
The debate over whether Arsenal actually needed Ozil is one for another day, or at least another article. But one thing is certain – he is one of Europe’s most exciting and talented footballers, and while the Gunners may have been in more desperate need of a new striker or holding midfielder, Ozil will improve them.
This afternoon should see his debut as Arsenal play Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. But reports this morning suggest he may be robbed of that chance due to illness.
While Arsene Wenger makes a late call as to whether or not he will unleash Ozil on Paolo Di Canio’s side, I won’t let a little thing like potential absence prevent me from writing about him; because even if the 24-year-old does not play this afternoon, it is only delaying the inevitable.
Whether the former Real Madrid man can paper over enough of the cracks at the Emirates to inspire not just a fourth-place finish but a trophy as well remains to be seen. And Wenger will surely move again in January to strengthen other areas of the pitch should the market allow.
But at a time when the majority of superstar players opt for clubs in Spain, Germany or Italy, it is both refreshing and exciting to ponder the possible impact of Ozil not just at Arsenal, but in regards to English football as a whole.
Hopefully he will begin to show what he can do this afternoon. But if he fails to beat his illness, you can be certain it will only be a matter of time before he starts beating opponents for fun.
How good a signing will Ozil ultimately prove to be for the Gunners?
image: © Jan S0L0