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Mesut Ozil’s Biggest Mistake

Ozil outsells Bale in shirt sales

Mesut Ozil’s sensational deadline-day transfer from Real Madrid to Arsenal has captured the headlines as one of the most extraordinary moves in recent history. While Madrid fans and players alike are distraught at the loss, Arsenal’s supporters are overjoyed at the signing of the googly-eyed German. But what does the move mean for Ozil’s career?

Firstly, Arsenal should be commended for their opportunism. They saw the chance to act and bring in a truly world class player and even broke the bank to do so, something not exactly associated with the club. It’s a wonder that they were the only team that acted when Ozil became available.

The 24 year old is already one of the most talented players on the planet; Real Madrid’s second best player behind Cristiano Ronaldo according to Cesc Fabregas.  A star for Real Madrid since his move in the summer of 2010 he has come on leaps and bounds under the guise of Jose Mourinho at the Bernabeu. The player arrived in Madrid with a slight frame and struggled to compete for 90 minutes, but has since become a much more physical player and improved his stamina greatly.

The 21 year old German done what many young players fail to do at Real Madrid and managed to establish himself as a consist and popular performer. To do so at such a young age is an amazing accomplishment at the most demanding club in the world. With no disrespect to Arsenal, the move is a massive step backwards for Ozil.

It’s easy to say that he’ll go from winning trophies at Madrid to not winning them at Arsenal, but Arsenal should be given the benefit of the doubt. Despite not winning a trophy since 2005, this could be the beginnings of a new policy in which they do buy big and begin to challenge again. The real issue for Ozil is that this may take several years before they can catch up to the Manchester clubs and Chelsea. Years that will be key in his progress as a footballer.

He goes from a team littered with world class footballers to a side where he’s arguably the only one. The players he left behind have World Cups, European Championships, Champions League and countless other trophies behind them; a wealth of experience. Arsenal’s current squad doesn’t have anywhere near the same level of success. No one has ever said that you get better by playing with worse players.

Some believe the increased competition for a place at the Bernabeu was the reason for his departure. With Gareth Bale and Isco’s arrival, competition for a spot will be fierce. But a player like Ozil should be more than up for a fight. At Arsenal he won’t be pushed anywhere near as hard, which could severely hamper his development.  He will no doubt play more, but if he isn’t being pushed by better players then his level could drop.

At 24, the next few years of Ozil’s career will determine whether he will turn into one of the all-time greats of the game. At Madrid, he was on the right path to one day becoming a club legend and a player that could potentially be remembered as one of the very best. He may well be able to reach his full potential in England, but very few will argue that he has increased his chances of becoming an all-time great with this move.

At the moment there is a lot of finger pointing in Spain, with people trying to figure out whose fault it is that Ozil left. The President? His father? The player himself? Gareth Bale? No one is really quite sure; but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is Ozil’s future and his development as a player. After the move, quotes emerged from someone claiming to be a close friend of the German, he claimed that Ozil himself will soon realise the move is a big mistake. For his sake, I hope he has made the right decision.