Comment: Arsenal might have left it very late - but Arsene Wenger has pulled off the signing of the summer with Mesut Ozil

Ozil transforms them from a club which world-class players leave to one which they join

Not many would have expected, as recently as two or three days ago, that it would be Arsenal who brought the best player to the Premier League during the transfer window.

But, as we are always told, anything can happen on deadline day. So it was Arsenal – the club who had not spent a penny in fees until last night, who had made their first recruits Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Flamini, both for free, who had pulled out of signing Gonzalo Higuain, who seemed desperately averse to spending money – who yesterday deposited £42.5m of it with Real Madrid in exchange for their subtle and graceful creator Mesut Ozil.

While Manchester City and Tottenham have added excellent players, and Chelsea the fading great Samuel Eto’o, 24-year-old Ozil is the first genuinely world-class player to come to England this summer.

The German is an unfortunate victim, like so many before him, of the relentless star-gathering which almost seems to be the entire point of Real Madrid. This summer they have spent a total of nearly £150m on Isco, Asier Illarramendi and Gareth Bale. There are only so many places to go around, so much money and prestige to be divided – and so Ozil is being squeezed out.

This is no real judgement against his record or talents in three years at the Bernabeu. After arriving from Werder Bremen in the summer of 2010 – choosing Real ahead of Manchester United – he was a regular part of Jose Mourinho’s sides, directing their fast counter-attacks and picking passes. Ozil helped win the Copa del Rey in 2011 and was central to the famous regaining of the La Liga title, the dethroning of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, in 2012.

When Real won 2-1 at the Nou Camp, in April 2012 to win the league for the first time since 2008, it was Ozil’s brilliant dart and pass to Cristiano Ronaldo which made the winning goal. Mourinho went on to describe him as “the best No 10 in the world”, compare him to Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane, and promise that he “will make history at Real Madrid”.

Mourinho was wrong on that last point but that is the pace of change at Real. In recent years Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder have both been spat out and gone on to win the European Cup with another team.

So Ozil needed a club and there were Arsenal, with money to spend. Arsène Wenger said with a knowing smile on Sunday night that Arsenal were only looking at “one or two super players”, and that “maybe in 24 hours we can surprise you”.

There is an argument that what Arsenal most needed yesterday was a full-back, a centre-forward, a goalkeeper, another holding player and maybe a left-winger. But there is another better argument that what they needed was elite quality, conviction, grace and profile. Ozil, a player at the top of his craft but still with time to progress, transforms Arsenal from a club which world-class players leave to one which world-class players join. He is expensive, certainly, but he is worth it.

News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
news

As anti-Semitic attacks rise, Grant Feller re-evaluates his identity

Life and Style
food and drink

Savoury patisserie is a thing now

News
news

Meet the primary school where every day is National Poetry Day

News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients
science

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

News
people
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Life and Style
fashionThe Secret Angels all take home huge sums - but who earns the most?
Sport
football

Striker ignored Brendan Rodger's request to applaud audience

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?