Arsenal broke their transfer record with the arrival of the mercurial German, but could the money have been better spent elsewhere?
When Mesut Ozil signed for Arsenal for a club record £42.4million on transfer deadline day, it was an outstanding piece of business; a Hollywood storyline on an occasion when more often than not “anti-climax” is the buzzword of the day.
But while there is no doubt it was a great signing, the question remains as to whether or not it was the right signing.
While Arsenal were linked with strikers, goalkeepers, centre-backs and holding midfielders for much of the summer, they ended it with another attacking midfielder…and an expensive one at that.
Ozil was worth every penny. In fact I believe he could ultimately go down not just as one of Arsenal’s greatest signings, but as one of the best pieces of business in the history of the Premier League.
At just 24, the German international has years to improve, and given that he is already outstanding, that is an extremely exciting prospect for Gunners fans.
But given the outlay on the former Real Madrid man, I cannot help but think who else Arsene Wenger could have got for that money.
This is all speculation, but for little more than Arsenal spent on Ozil, they could have signed five players who would have bolstered the squad considerably and given them a realistic chance of league success come May.
The way Simon Mignolet has started the season with Liverpool suggests the £9million the Reds spent on him was a bargain. And while Arsenal were linked with a whole host of ‘keepers they signed only the back-up option of Emiliano Viviano on loan.
While his presence may force the undeniably-talented Wojciech Szczesny to rediscover his best form, Mignolet would have made a huge difference in those games when a single goal proves vital.
Further up the field, Wenger could have signed Dejan Lovren and Etienne Capoue for a combined fee of £17.5million.
The re-signing of Mathieu Flamini was smart if necessary, but Capoue is already demonstrating at Tottenham what all the fuss was about. And the fact that he can play both in midfield and at the back makes him many a manager’s wish come true.
I have commented before that Wilfried Bony’s arrival at Swansea was bizarrely unopposed by England’s bigger clubs. And while the Ivory Coast international is yet to reach the heights of his time in Holland, he is a natural goal-scorer signed for a bargain price of £12million.
And for those Arsenal fans claiming Ozil’s creativity will be vital to get the best out of Olivier Giroud and help the club prosper both domestically and abroad, for just over a quarter of the price they could have signed Christian Eriksen, a player destined to blossom into something very special indeed.
So for £7.6million more than they paid for Ozil, Arsenal could now call on five players who would have been the missing pieces in a jigsaw Wenger has been building for quite some time.
Given the talent already at his disposal, they could have made the difference between success and disappointment. But as it is, the German playmaker has a lot of pressure at his expensive but undeniably magical feet.
Would Arsenal fans prefer Mesut Ozil or the players listed above?
image: © wonker