Arsenal's Greatest Signings #5

Arsenal's Greatest Signings #5

So, somehow we’re already at edition number 5 of Arsenal’s greatest transfers but luckily I’m blessed with quite a few players to pick from each week. So far we’ve seen Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira appear in the series, but this week we’re going to fast forward a bit.
Signed in the final season of that trophy drought this player has added three F.A. Cup trophies to his medal collection along with a couple Community Shields. It’s not Yaya Sanogo who came in the same summer, but Mesut Ozil. As we all know, he’s our record signing (at the moment) having come to Arsenal from Real Madrid for £42.5m, a pretty decent price if you look at the market today.
I have to say the transfer deadline day of summer 2013 was probably the best I’ve seen as an Arsenal fan recently. From beating Spurs the day before, finding out about the rumour and then the scenes on sky sports when the deal was announced, it was a very exciting day or two. It would be a couple of weeks before we’d see Ozil play in an Arsenal shirt but it was worth the wait. 11 minutes into his debut and he’d clocked in his first Arsenal assist, bringing down a lifted pass from Kieran Gibbs and then setting up Olivier Giroud for a first time finish.
Ozil’s first season saw him score 6 and assist 11 goals, which is respectable for a first season in the Premier League but there were still claims that the German was ‘stealing a living’. Even though his first season didn’t set the league alight, there were some highlights including: his great first Arsenal goal, a well-placed volley against Napoli as well as scoring in the quarter final of our F.A. Cup run against Everton along with lifting the cup in May.
After winning the World Cup with Germany in 2014 Ozil returned to Arsenal without having a proper pre-season yet again which really took its toll. Coming into the side in late August, playing for just over a month before picking up a knee injury that would keep him out until January, scoring and assisting in this time.
Ozil returned to the starting 11 in F.A. Cup against Brighton, scoring to make the day even better but it was a few weeks later when he would really announce he was back. A 5-0 thrashing of Aston Villa saw a much more muscular Ozil produce a great assist for Giroud as he flicked a ball over the defence with his first touch, Giroud returned the favour later on in the match assisting Ozil’s goal. The back end of the season would see him play at a significantly higher level making defenders dance at will and scoring his first North London Derby goal, he also assisted Alexis Sanchez in the F.A. Cup semi-final win over Reading.
With a proper pre-season behind him for once Ozil then had his best season in an Arsenal shirt in 2015-16. This season really kickstarted for Ozil in October, a month that would see him get a goal and assist in the 3-0 whitewash of Manchester United and then score the winner against Bayern Munich. 2015-16 wasn’t mainly about Ozil’s goals but his assists, game by game he picking up assists and even broke the record for assisting in consecutive games with six, the record breaker coming against Tottenham. Throughout the season Ozil’s assists would prove to be important as he created goals against champions Leicester which at the time kept our title hope alive but a team slump around February/March 2016 would see even Ozil struggle to create chances. This slump would see Ozil create 10 chances but not get an assist against Southampton in that time, a new record for chances created in one game and despite it looking like he would break the Premier League assist record of 20 he would fall short at 19. However, his impressive season didn’t go unrecognised as he won Arsenal player of the year with 8 goals and 20 assists in all competitions.
Last season would see a much more balanced goal/assist output from Ozil as he scored 12 goals and gave his team mate 12 assists. Again he had a very strong start to the season seemingly scoring for fun until the winter came, goals against Swansea and Ludogorets spring to mind as the real standouts, showcasing just how good of a player he is. Although again, like the previous season there was a clear drop off around the turn of the year which understandably angered Arsenal fans. Thankfully though he and the team regained form at the end of the season and despite it not being enough in the end it was nice to see him and the team playing great football.
Yes, I know this could be a slightly questionable inclusion to some people but he’s a player that has helped move us out of that dreaded stage of the ‘banter era’ of 06-13. With a player of his calibre its put us in the right direction for the future to attract players to work alongside him like Alexis Sanchez and surely a Premier League trophy will come sooner rather than later. His passing records are pretty decent too as he broke the chance created record again this season against Sunderland with 12 and making 42 assists in the Premier League alone since joining. Hopefully his chances can be converted a better in coming years.

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