Ozil takes leap of faith with Wenger
German playmaker’s arrival provokes thrilled reaction at the Emirates
Mesut Ozil’s arrival at the Emirates has redeemed Arsene Wenger’s summer transfer dealings
The Germany international’s club-record arrival has provoked thrilled anticipation at the Emirates, with Theo Walcott saying the signing had pepped collective confidence, whereas Ozil’s former Real team-mates reacted with dismay.
Alvaro Arbeloa described him as “a phenomenon” while Sergio Ramos summed up the mood at the Bernabeu, even in the wake of Gareth Bale’s €100m arrival, by claiming: “If I’d had a say in the matter, Ozil would be one of the last players to leave.”
The 24-year-old Ozil admitted surprise that the transfer had transpired. “At the weekend I was certain I would stay at Real Madrid but, afterwards, I realised I did not have the faith from the coach or the bosses,” he said in an interview with the German federation’s website. “I am a player who needs this faith and that is what I have felt from Arsenal.
“I am really looking forward to it because I have the faith of the coach. I had spoken to him at length on the telephone, he explained his plans and that he has faith in me – that is what I need as a player. I have already heard that they have super fans, the city is great and the team is fantastic.”
His new team-mates, bolstered by Sunday’s north London derby victory against Tottenham, are revelling in the high-profile addition to their number. “The likes of Ozil coming into the team will only boost our confidence,” said Walcott, who had watched the drama of transfer deadline day unfurl while at the England team hotel at St George’s Park.
“He will hopefully bring the best out of the players and I’m personally really looking forward to it. With the amount of assists he has for club and country, it will help my game.”
Liverpool’s manager, Brendan Rodgers, has decided Luis Suarez will operate out wide when he returns from a 10-match ban, with Daniel Sturridge immovable as Liverpool’s front-line striker. Suarez has two matches left to serve of his suspension for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic but he is expected to feature on the flanks for Liverpool, with Philippe Coutinho moving into the centre behind the lone striker, as Rodgers leaves Sturridge to continue his devastating early-season form for Liverpool.
Sturridge’s form, combined with Suarez’s efforts to leave Anfield, mean Rodgers believes the Uruguayan must force his way back as the focal point of the team’s attack.