With things currently looking bleak at the Emirates, John Murphy explains how Arsenal could have a world-class option in attack that Arsene Wenger may not have considered.
As the transfer window drew to a close, most Arsenal supporters went into fits of rage as the news was confirmed. There would be no blockbuster signing. There would be no Karim Benzema or Edison Cavani unveiling. Arsene Wenger had once again decided to mind his pennies and head into the new Premier League season with a squad that seemed almost intentionally incomplete.
When it came to Arsenal, every sports commentator going spent the majority of the summer making the same observations. They were on the brink of a title winning squad, a defensive midfielder would help but they needed something more. They needed something special. A centre-forward that was capable of pulling something out of nothing. A league winning striker that would lead Arsenal on a charge to the title.
The rumours began as hushed murmurs and morphed into drum pummeling roars as tabloid after tabloid ‘confirmed’ that another deal had been done. They’d signed Karim Benzema – it was done because a Venezuelan model said so. They’d signed Edison Cavani – it was done because someone took a picture of Arsene Wenger on a plane to Paris. In actual fact, aside from Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech earlier in the summer, the window was gently closed, and they’d signed nobody.
News went from bad to worse for Arsenal fans as, with already limited striking options, the news was confirmed that Danny Welbeck’s injury was more serious than initially thought. He would be out for months.
Arsenal fans are pulling their hair out. Olivier Giroud splits fans’ opinions even when he is scoring but so far this season, he isn’t. The French striker has one goal in seven appearances for club and country since the new Premier League kicked off and with Theo Walcott now as The Gunners only ‘viable’ option as back up, things are looking bleak.
However, an interesting fact has today resurfaced that suggests that Arsene Wenger may have more options in attack than previously thought. Guardian reporter Raphael Honigstein recently published a new book titled ‘Das Reboot: How German Football Reinvented Itself And Conquered The World‘. In it, Honigstein mentions an interesting fact that many Arsenal supporters may not be aware of.
Attacking midfielder, Mesut Özil was frequently deployed as a “false-nine” in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. As the focal point of the German attack, Özil finished the campaign as his nation’s top scorer with eight goals.
Although Özil hasn’t exactly set the Premier League on fire since signing from Real Madrid, there is still no denying the fact that the German playmaker is a world-class talent. With an abundance of attacking midfielders already available to Arsene Wenger, the occasional deployment of Özil as a false-nine would leave the Arsenal manager with more room in midfield for rotation, while also providing ample competition for a misfiring Olivier Giroud.
As the old saying goes,’the stats don’t lie’. Although Özil is far from a traditional Premier League striker, he is a proven success at international level in this position. Arsenal fans may not have the striking options they hoped to acquire during the transfer window, but in Mesut Özil, they may just have the extra option they need.