Thoughts: Mesut Ozil & Alex Iwobi

Mesut Ozil

During the World Cup, I wrote about Mesut Ozil’s relationship with the German media, authorities and fans.

My opinion at the time was a simple one, that Ozil was continually singled out for Germany for criticism because he is different. That whilst the likes of Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich and Manuel Neuer continually escape criticism for poor performances, Ozil is criticised even when he does not play badly.

I felt at the time that due to the racist undertone of comments from the likes of Lothar Matthäus, that Ozil might call it a day with the German national team. And yesterday he did just that:

Mesut Ozil has won 92 caps for Germany. He is a World Cup winner. A 5 time German Footballer of the Year. He is clearly a class act.

The abuse of Ozil is similar to what Raheem Sterling gets in England.

It is not overtly racist, but when negative articles are written about you for buying a house for your mum, or going for breakfast the morning after a defeat, it creates a nasty little undertone.

We saw similar last week with Dean Saunders attack on Alexandre Lacazette for TalkSPORT.

The former Liverpool striker said Lacazette is more interested in fast cars and fur coats than playing football. That he needs to be more like Harry Kane and become more professional.

Taking into account that it is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that likes the fast cars and fur coats, the attack by Saunders had racist undertones.

It reinforced racial stereotypes that young, successful black men are flashy. That they are more interest in cars and coats than playing football. That they are simple not as professional as their white colleagues.

The attack came out of nowhere, and merely highlighted Dean Saunders prejudice and poor journalism

Ozil retiring for Germany will be a good thing for Arsenal. We just need to make sure we get around him, show him the love and support he needs so that he performs for us.

He has always been an emotional character. One that needs an arm around him, to be shown love to play well. He has never been one to be motivated by criticism.

Ozil is an Arsenal player. Let’s get behind him.

Alex Iwobi

The second piece of Arsenal news over the weekend was Alex Iwobi.

Firstly it broke that Lazio were interested in signing him in a £20million deal, then it was that he had agreed a new contract until 2022.

When the first pice of news broke, many people were happy.

Iwobi is simply not rated by many fans. He has not really progressed from the timid teenager who looked like a deer in headlights when he first broke through.

Personally, I did not want him sold, I want to see him for another year under Unai Emery. But £20million is a lot to turn down. If a figure like that came in, I would accept.

A chat about racism again.

Some fans came out and claimed that other Arsenal wanting Iwobi sold was racist. Comparing it to the Jack Wilshere situation, even to the Ozil situation. This is just rubbish.

People wanted Iwobi to be sold because they felt he was not good enough. A perfectly valid opinion. It has nothing to do with his skin colour, or being born in Nigeria.

To a lot of the older generation, Rocky Rocastle was a hero. To my generation it was Thierry Henry. It reminds me of when that journalist claims that Highbury was a “no-go zone” in the early 2000’s.

It is lazy to always attack any criticism as racism.

If Iwobi does stay, I hope he kicks on. There is a good player in there, I am sure of it. He just needs the confidence in himself to realise that and break out.

He is 22 now, so a loan deal is not suitable.

With the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson pushing to break through, Iwobi needs to up his game if he wants to stay at Arsenal long term.

Keenos

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Arsenal’s youngster highlights struggle to progress

The news earlier this week that Arsenal youngster Kelechi Nwakali had joined Porto B on loan until the end of the season, with the Portuguese giants having an option to make the deal permanent in 12 months’ time came as a bit of a shock.

Being loaned out was not the surprise. He is still just 20-years-old and my understanding is that he is still unable to get a work permit for the UK.

With the development of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and the signing of 19-year-old Mattéo Guendouzi always meant that is was unlikely that Nwakali was going to be part of the first team squad.

What was surprising was that Porto have an option to make the deal permanent in 12 months’ time. This highlights that Arsenal do not believe he has a future at the club.

A key reason for this will be the development of Maitland-Niles and the signing of Guendouzi. The club clearly see too similar aged players as ahead of Nwakali in the pecking order.

What the story of Nwakali does is highlight once more how hard it is to go from talented youth team player to established senior professional.

Nigerian midfielder Nwakali, arrived in north London to much fanfare in 2016 having been identified by the Gunners’ as one of the star players in the Super Eagles’ Under-17 World Cup winning side of the previous year.

In the 2015 U-17 World Cup he was named captain as he led his country to the title, winning the Golden Ball Award along the way.

However Nwakali struggled to make a major impact either in the youth setup or out on loan, where he spent time with Dutch clubs VVV-Venlo and MVV Maastricht last season.

Arsenal signed Nwakali to a 5-year deal back in 2016, of which he still has 3 years remaining. The likelihood is the deal that would make the move to Porto permanent would be for a very low transfer fee with a first option to buy and a huge signing on fee.

Nwakali will just be one more player to add to a list of thousands who were talented at 16, but struggled to break through at the highest level.

Keenos

Singapore, Petr Cech / David Ospina & Liverpool

Singapore

On Monday Arsenal fly out to Singapore.

The majority of players who played against Boreham Wood are likely to be on the plane, alongside the senior professionals will be the likes of Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe.

Also on the plane will be Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi and Mohamed Elneny.

That will leave just Danny Welbeck, Granit Xhaka, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Nacho Morneal and new boy Lucas Torreira not yet back in training.

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon contributor JW will be flying out to Singapore. You can keep up to date with his travels and how Arsenal are getting on through his Diaries.

Petr Cech / David Ospina

Newly bulked up Petr Cech has recently been linked with a move away to Chelsea. It is still my opinion that he will stay at Arsenal for one more season with David Ospina leaving.

Cech is at the advantage that he did not go to the World Cup. He has returned from his break looking like a new man. Literally.

Maybe Cech is looking to follow former German goal keeper Tim Wiese into the WWE?

With both Ospina and Cech’s contracts set to expire at the end of this year, we should cash in on the Colombian this summer.

Cech will then be back up for Bernd Leno before leaving next year – with either Emiliano Martinez or Matt Macey stepping up to number two.

Liverpool

After my blog about Arsenal getting the last laugh by flogging injury prone and inconsistent Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool, I got a lot of fake-Scouse fans in my mentions informing me how great Liverpool were, and how jealous I was.

It perhaps shows how far they have fallen that fans were informing me how finishing 4th was a massive success to them.

This is a club who had once won more league titles than any other side, who have a history of real success, now celebrating finishing 4th.  It is now 27 years since their last league titles.

I had others telling me how great they ere doing considering their net spend. So do they now have the Net Spend trophy to go alongside their Top 4 Trophy.

They are now 6 years without a trophy. Celebrating Top 4 and net spend. Add in a defeat in the Champions League Final and a League Cup Final loss, they have become Arsenal 2006-2013.

You have to wonder how much longer Jurgen Klopp can keep pulling the wool over the eyes of the British media and fans. Making a joke after a loss to deflect how poor Liverpool are can only last so long.

This will be Klopp’s 4th season at Liverpool. In that time he has spent £380m on new players. In his first season he finished 8th with Liverpool. The next two seasons 4th. Last year they were 25 points behind Manchester City.

For all their claims under progression, it was only in 2014 that they finished 2nd under Brendan Rodgers. They really should have won the league title that year.

The last time they won a trophy was in 2012 – the League Cup; just the one trophy since 2006.

Next season Klopp’s Liverpool will have the most expensive goal keeper in the world in Alisson Becker, the most expensive centre back in the world in Virgil van Dijk, two £50m central midfielders and last seasons Premier League top scorer and best player in Mo Salah.

If they do not win a trophy, surely questions have to be asked of Klopp?

Of course, Liverpool did outperform Arsenal last season. They finished 4th, Arsenal 6th. But that is why we have made changed to our manager and back room staff. We know we are not in a brilliant position at the moment.

The delusion of Liverpool fans is that they see being 4th as a success. As brilliant. It really is not.

For years Arsenal were hammered, both by the media and our own fans, for finishing 4th, not winning a trophy, and pretending it was some sort of success.

Now Liverpool fans are celebrating similar, and the press are praising them for it.

With the money he has spent, and players he has at his disposal, Jurgen Klopp needs to start winning trophies.

Keenos