do Arsenal need Ozil?
Do Arsenal need Mesut Ozil? At a staggering £350,000 a week, he seems surplus to requirements at the moment. His manager, Unai Emery, has already said he does not want to use him in away matches. Lately he has not been deployed when fit in home matches.
He is an expensive luxury, indeed, who is known to have been incensed when substituted.
And now he has been exposed, most embarrassingly, as sprawling about having, like several other firstteam players, inhaled so-called “hippy crack” from a balloon with instant physical results. Such indulgence is not in fact illegal, but it hardly caters to the needs of a professional footballer and can reportedly have long-term consequences.
Yet watching the Gunners make tedious work of ultimately beating a highly defensive Huddersfield Town at the Emirates, one wonders whether Ozil’s unquestionable skills, his ability in the old Italian saying to “invent” the game, may not be essential to Arsenal.
Lucas Torreira’s spectacular late scissors kick gave them a belated and uneasy victory over Huddersfield, though he was left expensively unmarked by a previously resolute defence. But the little Uruguayan, however energetic and incisive, is not essentially a playmaker.
You do wonder what possessed Arsenal to give Ozil a contract which could hardly be matched were it decided to sell him. Compare and contrast with the £25million it cost to get Torreira from Sampdoria.
Seeing Arsenal play Huddersfield, even though Town abandoned their traditional blue-and-white stripes for a quite unnecessary yellow, one thought of Herbert Chapman.
Arguably one of the greatest of all club managers, he triumphed in turn with both Huddersfield and Arsenal. Before those two majestic spells, he managed a Leeds City club doomed to extinction, thrown out of the League for financial irregularities.
He himself was suspended from football and obliged to work in a factory but was then amnestied and took over at Huddersfield. A manager with an astonishing flair for inspiring and transforming his players, he won two consecutive championships with Town before leaving them for Arsenal, in 1925, whereupon he then took a third title.
But Chapman, though a Yorkshireman, had always wanted to work in London where before the Great War he had briefly been a player on the books of Tottenham Hotspur.
Unhappy...Mesut Ozil is substituted
Triumphant... Herbert Chapman