Bayern Munich madness as Mesut Ozil move rumours persist
The tabloid rumour mill is insistent that Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil will quit Arsenal for a return to the Bundesliga with reigning champions and leaders Bayern Munich, despite the player seemingly scotching speculation about his future.
What is behind such allegations? And more to the point, do Munich, Coral’s 7/2 joint-favourites to win the Champions League, need Ozil when they are so well-stocked in his natural number 10 position?
Playmakers of Ozil’s ilk easily draw criticism, with commentators relying on that famous football cliche of ‘goes missing in games’ when the assists dry up. His status as the Gunners’ record signing at £42.4m also goes before him, but he must be comfortable with the accompanying reputation that generates.
In fairness, though, Ozil did not set the fee, nor has he ever been a prolific scorer of goals. At 25 years old, you could argue his prime is still to come, and the British press see his golden era being back in the Bundesliga at Bayern.
Looking at his history, Ozil started at Schalke, who are bitter rivals of Borussia Dortmund. That should rule the Westfalenstadion out as a future destination out for him. Bayer Leverkusen, who were among the best of the rest in Germany last term, meanwhile, have just spent around £11.5m on talented Turkey prospect Hakan Calhanoglu for that position.
A return home to Gelsenkirchen looks unlikely anytime soon for Ozil either. New Schalke boss Roberto Di Matteo has teenagers Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka, plus Julian Draxler and Kevin-Prince Boateng all capable of playing off the front.
Werder Bremen, where Ozil plied his trade between Schalke and the big move to Real Madrid, are currently bottom of the Bundesliga following a winless start to the season. He will never be seen again there if their fortunes cannot be revived.
Having played for one Spanish giant, that would appear to rule out cross-capital rivals Atletico Madrid and El Clasico foes Barcelona, leaving Italy as the only viable alternative for Ozil to test himself in a top European league.
Respective spells at Fiorentina and Lazio for compatriot attackers Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez have been injury-hit, making Serie A something of a potential turn-off to Ozil. Unless he makes the move to Munich, as the tabloids have mooted, there are only big fishes in small domestic ponds open to him.
These are the likes of Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray; Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon; Ajax, PSV Eindhoven; Monaco and PSG across Turkey, Portugal, the Netherlands and France. Of that list of Europe’s other desirable destinations, just Monaco really need an Ozil-type player, having sold James Rodriguez to Real this summer, and only if he could avoid treading on Joao Moutinho’s toes.
It has to be Bayern, then, and that process of elimination is what British press journalists will have gone through on Ozil’s behalf. The trouble is Pep Guardiola has plenty to choose from in the number 10 spot.
Munich’s manager often employs a ‘false nine’ anyway, nominally using Mario Gotze and Thomas Muller as attacking focal points. Robert Lewandowski’s arrival at the Allianz Arena has added a genuine out-and-out striking option to Bayern, with veteran Peru player Claudio Pizarro in reserve.
But the options do not end there. Guardiola could use usual wingers Arjen Robben and Xherdan Shaqiri, as their respective national coaches did at the recent World Cup in Brazil, off the front at Munich. Teenagers Gianluca Gaudino and Julian Green, the latter loaned by Bayern to strugglers Hamburg, are yet to nail down preferred positions with their fledgling senior football careers beginning to bloom.
In short, Munich do not need Ozil. There are plenty of present selections open to Guardiola and, given Gaudino’s first-team exposure this term, there is some clear future planning for if Gotze and Muller get bored of winning trophies and seek new challenges.
Arsenal fans can be confident, then, when Ozil makes his injury comeback in the New Year, and their bid to retain the FA Cup (15/2), it will be in their red shirt and not that of Bayern.