Mesut Özil – Deal Or No Deal
Speaking to German football magazine Kicker, Mesut Özil asked the question which has been on many people’s lips: what is going on with Arsène Wenger’s contract?
Several months ago, Ivan Gazidis made it clear that there was a contract renewal waiting for Wenger to sign. The manager wasn’t having any of it, determined to renew in his own good time. That’s if he stays and changes at the top cannot be ruled out.
During the interview, Özil didn’t hide that he wanted to remain at the club but refused to commit himself to signing the deal currently on the table. His future is not dependent upon Arsène staying, but he wants to know what’s going on.
That’s hardly surprising; he signed from Real Madrid where they hire and fire managers irrespective of their performance.
With Arsenal, there is a genuine shortage of experience at board level when it comes to appointing new coaches. Only Ken Friar was at the club when Wenger joined, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if dithering marred the appointment of his successor.
Wenger has already stated that he won’t decide his future until the spring at the earliest. If Arsenal’s season has taken a turn for the worst, it may not be until after the final home game against West Bromwich Albion.
This flux leaves Özil in limbo. While the World Cup winner is the only person who genuinely knows what he meant, there can be little doubt he wants to see a big name replacement at the helm.
A genuine fear of change paralyses sections of Arsenal’s support. Don’t replace Wenger; their false logic is that you don’t know whether it will bring success. It’s this mentality, the lack of a cutting edge to thinking, which has brought the club to its current standing.
Fifth in the Premier League, the Gunners are in a real fight for the Champions League places. Whereas before we relied only on Spurs imploding – which they did with a gratefully received regularity – this time, we’re up against both Manchester clubs and Liverpool as well.
The longer the uncertainty over the futures of Sanchez and Özil goes on, the more chance there is of Arsenal missing out on the major European competition.
The two players are key to Arsenal’s short-term future and for a manager who spends a great deal of time professing his love of the club, to leave us in the dark over his future, seems quite bizarre.
It’s obvious that we’re not going to win the title; Wenger isn’t going to get the glorious last hurrah of Sir Alex Ferguson when he stood down as Manchester United manager.
He may believe that by not deciding his fate this early in the season, that he is keeping his options open. This attitude isn’t in the club’s best interests; it suits only Arsene Wenger.
There is no doubt that renewing his contract will upset a section of the fanbase, just as his departure will. Whichever way events turn, a group of people is going to be upset. Better that than a large portion of supporters growing indifferent to each season.