Arsenal Emery Ozil and the Transfer Window

Emery left Ozil off the starting lineup over the weekend.  As listeners to this show know I have been calling for Ozil to be subbed, left out, and generally reigned in as an Arsenal staple.  There was something strange about this benching.  It came with a qualifier, he was sick.  Ill.  Unavailable.

I jumped out of my seat to see Arsenal was going to try a midfield without the lethargic, turnover prone German.  My theory that Emery was confidently testing and experimenting with his squad.  A long term approach to his coaching position.  Refreshing in modern football I thought.  And required after a 22 year coaching stint by Arsene Wenger.  Emery is taking his time to get his feet settled.  Kicking the tires in real time.

The rough English media already had a conspiritorial narrative ready for Emery:
Ozil left the team and facility on Saturday because he was pissed he was left
out of the lineup. He responded: "Maybe in English it is difficult to explain,
but first, why is this information [being reported]? It isn’t true. That
informatio needs first to be true. Who is starting to telling you or us
this information? You ask me, or the doctor, or the club. He was sick
yesterday. He spoke with the doctor and with me, and decided not to play today.
But he did not leave training [due to that], but because he was going to his
home, because he was sick."

But the questioner could not stop there, with just facts at hand.
Would he have played if he were available was the question:
Emery responded, "He was sick and today, he was sick. He left to his house
and I said to him, to come [to the match] if he feels better and he feels
better today and before the match he is with the team and with me."

There are 4 days left in the transfer window for the France, Germany, and Spain.  Unfortunately the over-valued asset, Ozil, has hurt his marketability in Germany with recent public sensitivities to racial insults hurled at him from a vocal ignorant minority.  He lashed out at Germany in general.  It's safe to say Dortmund or Bayern would be less likely today to purchase Ozil from Arsenal, even for a bag of chips as I have claimed is Ozil's true value.  But the cache of Ozil's name and pedigree continue to hold value in an open market.  Ligue 1, a lower tier could be perfect for a player on the cusp of world class skill.  La Liga, a league with more open play that values the beauty of the game a little more so than the pragmatic Premier League, could be a great home for Ozil.  The illness could be a ploy by Ozil and his management to force a sale or a pending sale is imminent, and he would rather not risk injury in a live match.  This is a possibility.  Or it is a possibility that Ozil is sick?

Emery is experimenting, this is clear.  Different subs, and different lineups in the first three matches of the season show he has not formed a firm opinion on the assets he has been placed with.  I cannot remember a match in which Ozil was subbed out ever under Arsene Wenger.  But Emery only took 2 matches in regular season play to make that change.  It is clear that Ozil's talent does not suit the English Premier League, and certainly not Emery's flexible style that includes coordinated and concerted pressure, aka hustle.

Temporary sickness?  Pending transfer sale?  The fact that it is a question is good for Arsenal football.  For success to occur at Arsenal the coaching position must be filled by a leader, and not a place holder.  Even if Emery's substitution is the extent of the decisions regarding Ozil in this young season, it is the gradual change Arsenal fans have been thirsting for ... or maybe it's just me.

Jay Fratt

Comments