Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mesutzil: Is he the answer?

Now that the ruckus has subsided and the dust has settled over what has turned out to be one of the most exhilarating, if not the most exhilarating, transfer window seen in recent memory, with transfer records been shattered, left right and center, with clubs going all out on spending sprees (Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Real Madrid, of course, springing into mind), others going all out to trim the fat off their squads and purge the dead-weight from their ranks (Arsenal, being a prime example, releasing 23 youth players and Chelsea as well sending out 6 of their squad members out on loan to one club), while for others, it has been a time to sit back, reassess and evaluate exactly what went wrong during this transfer window (cue in Manchester United). However, despite all the happenings of the transfer market, all football fans can agree that this was definitely a transfer window never seen before. Gareth Bale broke the transfer record set by his fellow Galactico Cristiano Ronaldo when he signed for Madrid for an exorbitant price of EUR85.3 million. However, contrary to popular belief, his transfer was not the transfer of the season. That honor, however, goes to the one and only: MesutzilNow this might seem a bit odd or controversial. After all, Gareth Bale is THE MOST EXPENSIVE PLAYER! And he cost double of what Arsenal forked out forzil. However, I believe thatzil is twice the player for half the price. Here are some statistics as to why....

And for the record,zil jerseys are outselling Bale jerseys 5:1.....'nuf said!Now let's move on to other more important matters.

Mesutzil was born on 15th October 1988, in Gelsenkirchen, Germany to third-generation Turkish immigrants. From an early age,zil showed potential in football, playing in various youth clubs and a technical style of street football known as Affenk fig (the monkey cage), which he says helped shape him into the technical and graceful player he is right now. Before long, he moved on to the Schalke youth team, first team, then to Werder Bremen. After a highly successful 2010 World Cup, the latest product to roll off the conveyor belt of the German youth development system single-handedly destroyed England in the round of 16 knockout phase, then went on to collect the highest number of assists and as a result for his marvellous how he was shortlisted for the tournament's Golden Ball, as well as being named in the Team of the Tournament. It didn't take too long for the big boys and the suitors to come calling, as Real Madrid finally captured the midfielder. However, due to an injury to Kaka,zil was promoted to the first team for Mourinho and it is here where he truly flourished.

Mesutzil's statistics are not to be taken lightly. In his first season with Los Blancos, he managed to get 25 assists - the highest in the Spanish league and the whole of Europe in any major competition, as well as scoring 6 times. The next season was to be even more spectacular forzil, as he was given the no. 10 jersey by Mourinho, showing his (Mourinho's) full commitment and faith in the player, thereby cementing his position as the chief playmaker for Real Madrid. And true to that, Mourinho's faith was well placed aszil managed 17 assists in La Liga, the highest number of assists in the league, as well as helping Madrid to lift the title and scoring 4 goals in the process. The next season was to be even better, withzil receiving stellar reviews for his performances for the Galacticos even though the team faltered. He managed a stunning 29 assists in all competitions - the highest for any player in any major league in Europe - as well as rustling the keeper's net 9 times.

All this does sound quite tantalising and impressive, I must admit. However, now that the transfer window is over, people are no longer losing their minds over the completely berserk happenings of the transfer window and Arsenal fans, myself included, have finally come down from Cloud 11, the question remains: iszil the answer?

After much thought and debate, I have come to the conclusion that yes and no.zil is the answer as much as he isn't the answer. He is merely part of the answer. Why, you ask me. Well, as much as I love the idea ofzil partnering with Wilshere, Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky, Flamini, Zelalem and any other Arsenal midfielder in the triple-pronged midfield which Le Professeur seems to favor, I think however thatzil was not a necessity, rather more of a luxury. He was merely bought so that Arsenal can have a certain je ne sais quoi factor about them, to bring back some 'star power', for lack of a better word.zil's arrival is more or less similar to what happened to Arsenal some 18 or so years back, when Dennis Bergkamp first arrived to North London and was them promptly followed by an avalanche of amazing footballing talent which reached the ultimate pinnacle in footballing folklore (well, almost) by going a whole season unbeaten and earning the title "The Invincibles".zil is somewhat of a mirror image of Bergkamp. His signing can perhaps be used as a benchmark or Wenger to be able to convince other top-level talent to join his charges. However, in my opinion, Wenger seemed to overlook one major kink in his armour: THE STRIKING DEPARTMENT.Whilst at Real Madrid,zil was surrounded by the best of the best! I mean, he had one of the toughest choices as an Attacking Midfielder: who do I pass to? Ronaldo, Higuain/Benzema or Di Maria. With a forward line such as that one, it's no wonder that he was able to be the top assist getter in the whole of Europe for three seasons on the trot. In Arsenal however, Olivier Giroud is the main striker, with the speed demon Walcott on his right and possibly Cazorla on his left. And don't get me wrong, Olivier Giroud is a fantastic striker, while Walcott had the season of his life last season and Cazorla was the leading assister and second top goal scorer behind Walcott, but what happens when one of the above gets injured? Especially Giroud, since Arsenal's second striker is the young and promising but not yet established Yaya Sanogo, with wantaway striker Nicklas Bendtner and South Korean reject Ju-Young Park the next in line after falling down the pecking order. What happens then when Olivier Giroud picks up an injury during an international break, circa RvP, or if Walcott tears a hamstring while running at speeds well over the national speed limit? What happens then?zil shall cut a frustrated figure, that's what shall happen. He shall be making his trademark runs, weaving out of his usual tight spaces and when he reaches the final third, he distributes that killer, defence-splitting, weaved-through-the-eye-of-the-needle, out-of-this-world pass which has become synonymous to him just as oxygen and water have become synonymous to survival on Earth, but alas! TO WHOM!?! And this is my reason as to why he is not the answer.What is?zil + A world-class striker (Suarez if Liverpool hadn't been so stingy) + A rock-solid, tough as nails defensive minded midfielder (circa Vieira) plus another well-established center-back to give Koscielny, Mertesacker and Vermaelen a run for their money. Now THAT is the answer!

However,zil is still a stellar signing, and regardless of all my doom and gloom encompassed in endless praise, I still think that Wenger probably managed to get the signing of the summer (although he did that to silence the fans and buy himself some time after the shambolic display of his transfer activities). Paying half the price for twice the player Bale is, I honestly do think thatzil is the type of player who will fit in seamlessly too Arsenal's style of play, as well as improving their quality of the game. Who knows!? Maybe if Giroud and Walcott manage to stay largely injury-free this term, we could be looking at +10 goal tally from their efforts last season, since after allzil will be doing the hard work. Needless to say,zil is perhaps the breath of fresh air that the Emirates faithful needed; the shot in the arm that the Arsenal fans have been crying for. Maybe this is the start of a revolution. Maybe this is the signal of things to come. Maybe 'tis time for the Arsenal to stand up and be counted, once again, as the force to be reckoned with in English and European football. Maybe, just maybe, the Emirates can see it's first piece of silverware after 8 gruelling and torturous years...

Maybe, just maybe. Only time shall tell....
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