It's been nearly 24 hours since we signed Mesut Özil and I still can't believe the magnitude of the signing.
TRANSFER RECORD SMASHED
FEELING AT THE CLUB - CHANGED
BELIEF OF THE FANS - SOMEWHAT RESTORED
PERCEPTION OF THE CLUB - ALTERED
They are some of the headlines I'd attach to this singing and I'll be honest, I've felt somewhat arrogant about our new and improved involvement in the transfer market. We may not hold the record fee paid but we've catapulted ourselves onto the top table. I doubted Gazidis and his statement but he's pretty much, barraged into the room, chucked David Moyes & Manchester Unites out of their chair and said "do one". A club that wanted Cesc Fabregas, would surely be interested in the 24 year old German wouldn't they? We have our place and this isn't just a signal of intent, it's a whole new beginning. Yes, we didn't get all of the players we needed but say we did sign Cabaye, Ba and A.N. Other, come the next transfer window we'd be scrapping the barrel looking for your average joes once more. No the bar has been raised, this deal means we don't have to sell the club, it sells itself. Questions about will we qualify for the Champions League? Foregone conclusion surely? This is a player that creates for fun and chips in with goals too. You've all seen the colossal figures in relation to his assist record, they are extra chances that he brings to us and they are all ours. Which, in turn should equal more points.
There are many factors of this deal that excite me but I think the biggest one is how our club is perceived. I viewed our game on Sunday as our biggest game of the season at home, purely because it's possibly our best chance to win a big game. When the likes of United, Chelsea and City come to town, of late, I've expected us to lose because we get found out. Now I'm not saying we'll suddenly start beating them all but if you look at the Demba Ba no deal, you can't tell me that Chelsea didn't pull the plug because they saw what we were doing? They claimed to not want to sell to a rival and we aren't just talking in terms of a geographical location, they are talking more about league position. Having the likes of Cazorla & Özil weaving their magic will strike fear into the opposition. Imagine us at home to United, Fellaini and Cleverley in the centre of midfield. Oh my. It's an area we have failed in recently but I can't help but feel things have changed in that regard. I expect to win now and yes it's off the back of one signing but one signing was all it took when a certain iconic Dutchman turned up at Arsenal in 1995.
A lot of comparisons have been drawn between the Özil and Bergkamp deals and I see where people are coming from, but I can't help but feel this deal is bigger (and I'm not just talking about the fee). Özil is on top of his game, something Bergkamp had to rebuild, his move was somewhat of a second chance after receiving death threats for poor performances. Has anyone contemplated that Özil might be a failure, of course we haven't because he's one of THE BEST in the game. He's been something of a pipe dream in windows gone by, even when Madrid snapped him up three years ago, it was rumoured we'd had him scouted the usual 105 times but we kept our nerve this time and got it done.
This deal though has Madridistas fuelled with rage. Whilst Gareth Bale was introduced to his new home, Sid Lowe reported their fans were singing "Don't sell Özil", this is Real Madrid people, the biggest club in the world and we've taken advantage of Daniel Levy's brilliant negotiating. Arguably, if he'd sold for 50m, they probably wouldn't need to sell but they didn't and Real had to expect a star was going to leave. So from me Daniel, thanks.
One of the undervalued aspects of deals is the impact it has on the fan base. Sales of Özil 11 shirts have gone through the roof. As @swegoon pointed out last night (mainly in jest) maybe Adidas could rethink a deal for shirt sales, as Özil is one of their elite clients and the new face of Adidas. It's probably too late to renegotiate but you get the point. Sponsors will flood in wanting their brand associated with our club. The gloom has lifted somewhat on Twitter, joyous people tweeting through the night. I didn't want last night to end, so much so I listened to the @arse2mouse podcast at 00:30 and ploughed through another bottle of wine. Great work by The @arse2mouse crew, as they guide you through the day as if happens, you can listen here. Sadly the night did draw to a close and I woke up with one very sore head today, well worth it though.
So where does this leave Arsenal? Well, when we go embroiled in the Suarez debacle, I went on record to say the deal was as important as the player. That sign of intent to actual progress to the next level would provide a massive shot in the arm. That transfer obviously fizzled out but the principal remained and the club delivered, namely in the form of Arsène Wenger. A manager I have slagged off and rightly so I feel. If you underachieve you leave yourself open to criticism but when you over perform you deserve the credit and that's what I see a lot of fans doing. Well, except those that want to ram it down your throats. There's a tweet floating around about if you didn't celebrate Sanogo signing then you don't deserve to celebrate Özil. I mean seriously, WTF. This deal has not only given us a world class player but if would appear Arsène has more lives than a cat but I'd widely expect him to get a two year extension and I'm happy for him to remain if this policy proves to be in it's infancy. You see the expectation has risen amongst every gooner and a striker will surely arrive in January, ready for the business end of the season. No more Gervinho deals and more of the higher calibre signings. New players coming to English football should worry supporters of other clubs. Pretty much like Hazard signing for CFC. I'm not expecting us to pay £40+ for one player in every window but we must not return to our default position.
This season was our opportunity to catch the teams above us last season and it looked like that passed us by but maybe we resuscitated ourselves just in time. Our time is now and we have to take this opportunity. I expect things, I now feel like a trophy is realistic and not just a big fantasy of mine. Last night felt like the gloom had lifted (summed up brilliantly in this article by @thugclive, he's a CFC fan who decided to check out The Ems yesterday) and there's a freshness about the place. Even arsenal fans are changing their twitter handles and the umlauts are flowing. It really so refreshing to see.
Then you have his impact with his team-mates. Our forward line must be licking their lips, none more so than Theo Walcott, who I think will benefit massively from Mesut's vision. After all it's not just about what the German does, it will also improve others as well .
In summary, we have a worldie in the form of Real Madrid's previous #10. This is a deal to embrace, drink it in and see where we go. I haven't felt this positive about our club for a long while and I want this feeling to remain for a good while to come. We've 'got by' for far too long and I hope this is us breaking free of the shackles and flexing our financial muscle (ooh-er) and when you see clubs like United struggling to recruit, you can help but laugh and think, that used to be us.