Mesut Ozil has suggested that Arsenal will need a number of new signings if they are to compete next season.
The recently crowned German Footballer of the Year expects the arrival of Pep Guardiola to stir Manchester City into life once more – with Chelsea and Manchester United also expecting new coaches – and has stressed the importance of fresh faces at the Emirates to ensure the team can compete.
Speaking to German publication, Welt am Sonntag, Mesut said: “We know that it will not be easy and that we need reinforcements if we want next season to be on top here again.
“It is again interesting to see who invests in who and how much the clubs do during the summer break.
“In addition, great coaches are coming into the league. I am thinking primarily of Pep Guardiola. Wherever he has been, he had success. He is a coach, keen on playing and his teams are feared.
“I wonder what he will do with Man City. He will be imprinting his football in England and people will be surprised.”
It is always surprising to see a player of Ozil’s calibre declare himself just as much a fan of summer signings, and all the drama that brings, as your average football fan.
But it is worthy of note that, when he looks around at his team mates, the 27-year-old feels that there is room for improvement, that reinforcements are required. Perhaps that view is driven by the almost certain summer departures of Tomas Rosicky, Matthieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta, with other players likely to follow.
Or perhaps there is more to it.
Perhaps he believes – as many do – that the team is probably two players short of mounting a very serious assault on multiple fronts.
You would have to go a long way to find someone who doesn’t agree that the team would benefit from a striker of real pedigree, rare as they are, and a centre back of equal standing.
I don’t think there is an ulterior motive here from Mesut, he doesn’t strike me as that sort of personality – the pernicious Ashley Cole type. But it is of great interest that he recognises the need for more, and better.
And, arguably, he has earned the right to put that view forward. He is having a stand-out season, without doubt one of the best players in the league, and is right that he should expect more, and for his team mates to match the heights he is hitting.
He also briefly discussed Arsenal’s outside chance of taking the Premier League title, saying: “I do not think it impossible. Although there are only a few games left, Leicester have a run against some of the big teams to come.
“We ourselves must in any case not allow any more slip-ups. The hope of the title is still there – we have the players for the title.”
I hold only the very vaguest of hopes that we may yet win the league, the sort of hope only the most optimistic of fans would ever entertain. But the man is right, we cannot really afford to drop another point if we are serious about mounting a last-ditch challenge.
In the mean time, you can console yourselves with a short compilation of Mesut magic. Find it here
In other news
It has been widely reported that Arsenal are set to complete the signing of 16-year-old Portuguese prospect Domingos Quina.
The youngster has, apparently, left the Chelsea academy without signing professional terms, leaving him able to sign with any other club of his choosing.
It’s difficult to get excited about these sorts of things, primarily because anyone under the age of 18 is labelled a ‘wonderkid’ or ‘the next Lionel Messi’. More often than not, these kids never get near the first team, and fizzle out into obscurity.
I may be doing the lad an enormous disservice, but only time will tell. In the meantime, let’s build on Alex Iwobi’s success and get Jon Toral, Chuba Akpom, and Dan Crowley involved with the first team.
I’m a firm believer that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough and it’s high time these three took off the training wheels and really repaid the faith, time and investment in nurturing their abilities.
That’ll do for now.