Let's not bury the lede: Arsenal Football Club signed Mesut MFing Özil on transfer deadline day.
Due respect to Emiliano Viviano; many of us see the addition of another goalkeeper, albeit on loan, as a wonderful addition to our squad. Likewise, on the evidence of his commanding North London Derby performance, bringing in Mathieu Flamini was another shrewd bit of business by the club.
The big news though, and rightfully so, is the purchase of Özil. In a well-timed swoop, we purchased one of the world's best playmakers, full stop. Gervinho from Arsenal to Roma, Lemela from Roma to Spuds, the Welsh Simian from Spuds to Real Madrid, and Özil from Real Madrid to Arsenal. It's the circle of life. Hakuna matata. A single player has taken us from top four contender to title contender.
My lengthy blast of the club and manager for their business acumen belied the fact that I grasped tightly a sliver of hope during this transfer window that something big would happen. Even the most pollyanna among us would not have anticipated such a huge and previously unheralded purchase. Mesut Özil (seriously, I will take every opportunity to type that name just for the umlaut) is the sort of transfer deadline signing that I hope can unify a polarized fanbase around the notion that Wenger still has his head in the game and the club are willing to spend top, top money for top, top quality.
A few words about that last blog post: I am not too proud to admit that I was far too negative, far too early in the season. Getting spun up in the Twitter echochamber and coming out the other side a bitter soul is discouragingly easy. Implicitly I called for the manager's head and he explicitly signed a world class player who specifically wanted to play for him. Özil clearly liked what Wenger had to say, and that made a big difference in luring him away from Real Madrid. I'm sorry, Arsène. I never meant to hurt you baby. It's telling that I and so many of us were willing to throw Wenger under the bus after so many years of frustration following so many more years of success. We really needed a signing like Özil to turn perceptions around, both internally and externally. Supporters, players, and rivals alike have witnessed a powerful demonstration of Arsenal's and Arsène's ambition. We can compete. Can we all just shut the hell up about transfers now?
Well, no. For all the goodwill banked by beating The Team That Bale Built Standing On A Basketball FC and bringing Özil, Flamini, and Viviano in, we are still riding a knife's edge when it comes to squad depth. I have to wonder why Rosický wasn't subbed off more quickly in the North London Derby, as particularly in the later stages of the match he seemed abnormally off the pace to me (tangentially, can we please stop passing it around in our 18-yard box?!). Our two late-game subs brought on fullbacks for attackers; masterful man-management or dearth of direct deputies?
It's clear the boss believes we can get healthy soon and in the meantime cover with who we have available (even TGSTEL). Such is the impact of signing Özil that the big difference for me between the start of the season and now is that I'm way more open to letting it slide. My confidence is restored. I don't understand why we didn't take advantage of this summer to refresh and restock our supporting lineup instead of mainly just clearing the decks, but maybe it's not for me to understand. 7amkickoff recently lamented how we've all become lawyers and accountants and I'm sick of it too. I spent so much time worrying about how thin our squad is and how inactive in the transfer market we've been and how big our bank account is, when maybe I should've just been enjoying the ride?
All of that to say, there's plenty to enjoy right now. Things have definitely been looking up for the team since last we spoke. We avenged our opening day loss by running through Fenerbahçe home and away in our Champions League play-in round, traveling to Craven Cottage to convincingly crush Fulham in a torrential downpour, and finally, most endearingly, putting the sword to Spuds at the Emirates.
Speaking of, Charsenal's support during our viewing of the North London Derby was top, top quality. In addition to the locals, we welcomed special visitors from North Carolina and New York and all sang our hearts out. We should do that again sometime...say, in about two weeks?
PS: who else wants to wrap Özil in a big bubble wrap suit until the Interlull is over so he doesn't get crocked?