Sep 3, 2 days ago

Is Mesut Özil Arsenal’s Best Player Since Thierry Henry?

Last night, at 11:00pm, the 2013 Summer Transfer Window slammed shut on Arsenal, as well as on the rest of English Football. All cards had finally been shown.

“[Özil is] so good, that I am confidently claiming that he is the best Arsenal player since Thierry Henry departed  in 2007.”

Arsene Wenger had managed to secure the signatures of Emiliano Viviano, an experienced Goalkeeper from Palermo on a season-long loan.

Wenger had also previously tied up the signings of French youngster Yaya Sanogo, and Midfield enforcer, Mathieu Flamini, both for free. Although Flamini is still a strong talent, none of Arsene’s acquisitions were particularly inspiring.

Until of course, he signed none other than Mesut Özil. A player so good that the signing will still feel surreal to most Arsenal fans, probably will do until our next fixture. He is so good in fact, that I am now confidently claiming that he is the best Arsenal player since Thierry Henry departed  in 2007.

You may think I’m over-selling Mesut, but allow me to explain.

Who is Mesut Özil

Mesut Özil is of Turkish decent, but born in Germany, 1988. He began his youth career at Gelsenkirchen and Rot-Weiss Essen, before moving to Schalke 04, where he made 30 appearances.

In 2008, Werder Bremen purchased the then Nineteen year old for €4.3 million. It took Özil just two years to catch the eyes of the media and people. He helped Bremen finish third in he Bundesliga in 2010, scoring 9 goals and providing 17 assists.

“Naturally, by the time the World Cup was over, almost all major clubs in the world were eager to sign him…”

The 2010 World Cup however, was the stage upon which Özil truly sold himself to the Footballing world. He started for Germany in every fixture, helping Germany finish third with a handful of goals and assists. In each game, Özil was the Germany’s main driving force, and he was touted by many to be the player of the tournament. Naturally, by the time the World Cup was over, almost all major clubs in the world were eager to sign him.

Real Madrid were the club to succeed, just a few weeks after the end of the 2010 World Cup, securing him for what is rumoured to be around just €15 million.

In the 2010/11 campaign, he started 60 matches in total for Bremen, Real and Germany, scoring 12 times, and assisting 31 times. A phenomenal start which, as I will explain next, only got better.

The Quality of Mesut Özil

For those of you who have watched Mesut Özil, you will not need to see much more in order to be convinced of his quality. To put it simply, he is outstanding.

But is he Arsenal’s best player in over six years? Do Robin Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas not match him? I’d argue that they don’t. Here’s why.

Please note: The stats below reflect the games started by Mesut Özil throughout the season mentioned. This includes both club and International starts.

Total Games Started

At the age of just 24, the statistics shown above are nothing short of amazing. For comparison, the statistics above surpass those of players such as Iniesta, Xavi and Mata. In fact, Ozil has racked up more assists than any other Midfielder in the last five years, across all of the World’s top leagues.

Mesut Özil has been long considered one of the best midfielders in the world, with the statistics above playing a role, along with his sheer quality as a Footballer in general. Just a few months ago in fact, Özil won the Supporters German Player of the Year Award - for the second year running, and also made it into UEFA’s Team of the Year for 2012.

On top of those personal awards and accolades, Özil has also won the La Liga once, whilst being a Runner-up three times.

The Scope of Impact

The reason I claim that Özil is better than any Arsenal player since Thierry Henry, is down to his brilliant stats, combined with the fact that he excels consistently for both club and country, on levels almost unhead of at Arsenal in recent years.

“I think we can all agree that, at the highest of levels, Özil has consistently surpassed all forms of modesty, choosing instead to excel.”

Both Cesc Fabregas & Robin Van Persie were, and still are world-class players. However, neither of them match the scope of Özil’s impact. At the age of just 24, not only was he one of Real Madrid’s finest players, but he is also the heart and soul of Germany’s world-renowned attacking force.

Essentially, Fabregas and Van Persie have both impressed at club level, yet both have taken up modest roles within the International scene. Of course, both of them are respected as top quality players, who are without doubt in the same bracket as Özil. However, I think we can all agree that, at the highest of levels, Özil has consistently surpassed all forms of modesty, choosing instead to excel.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Mesut Özil, is that he is still not the finished article. At such a young age, there really aren’t many managers in the world who can seriously improve Özil from what he already is. Fortunately, Arsene Wenger used to be quite good at doing just that - and so we’re about to find out if the old Professor still has it.

Do you think Mesut Özil is Arsenal’s best player since Thierry Henry? Tell me what you think in the comments section below.

Stats: ESPN

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