With the news about Mesut Özil's possible signing comes questions. Beyond the happy ones - how are umlauts pronounced? how soon can my new shirt be here? - come some more pointed ones. I'll try to answer a few of them here.
Why are we signing a playmaker?
Most of the noise this summer has been around strikers. Gonzalo Higuain. Luis Suarez. Even all the way back to Stevan Jovetic. There was talk of Cesc Fabregas for a little while, but for the most part we all thought striker depth was the biggest issue - Olivier Giroud even mentioned it himself. What gives?
Well, look at the players listed. All are, in some way, creative strikers. Higuain fits the bill least of the three, but it seems clear that creativity up front has been a target all along. Giroud is good at holding up play and is underrated as a creator, and Cazorla offers creativity from the left, but other than that there isn't a wealth of deadly passing skill in Arsenal's front. Plenty of good or serviceable passers, but Cazorla is really Arsenal's only gamechanging passer presently. Özil would finally be a true replacement for Fabregas, who has been missed.
We need defense, not attack.
No. Arsenal's defense last year was fine - good, even, particularly at the end of the season. We had the second best defensive record in the league last term, and in all competitions last year, Arsenal allowed one goal or fewer 34 times. To go the other way, we scored one or fewer 28 times, and scored 14 goals fewer than champions Manchester United. Is that the most scientific statistic? Certainly not, but if the answer is Mesut Özil, it's good enough for me. Because...
He's really goddamn good.
Depending on who you ask, Özil is either the second-best creator in the world (that would be me) or somewhere in the top five (most other people). He averaged nearly 30 assists a season for the past three years. He scored 27 goals in the same period, and in 47 caps for Germany he has 14 goals. Honestly, I think Real Madrid are absolutely insane to be even considering letting him go.
If the Mesut Özil deal does, in fact, go through, Arsenal will be getting one of the top players in the world. He will get Arsenal more points than any tough-tackling midfielder or muscular defender. We'll have Aidan with more on the discrete effects if the deal is finalized, but for now, feel comfortable in your restrained glee. If it happens, don't let anyone cramp your style - this would be a spectacular, club-altering deal.