As the summer approaches, we face the very real prospect of losing the three biggest names at Arsenal – Arsene Wenger, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
If you ask people who would they rather keep – Alexis or Ozil, most will tell you Alexis. But they’re wrong.
Ozil represents so much more than the Chilean and I believe that losing him would indicate a far deeper problem at Arsenal that losing Alexis.
Let me explain
Think back to that September day when you started to hear whispers that Arsenal were close to signing Mesut Ozil.
You didn’t quite believe it, did you?
We were all still buzzing after beating Spurs and the thought of Mesut f***ing Ozil arriving made us dizzy.
This wasn’t the way Arsenal did transfers. We didn’t buy superstars, we made them, remember?
Mesut Ozil took a chance on Arsenal.
He came when we were battling for fourth and hadn’t won a trophy in forever.
He remembered a promise he had made to Arsene Wenger, a manager who had always wanted him, and he picked up the phone.
There was only one place he wanted to go – that’s why we didn’t have to outbid anyone else and why we didn’t lose him to the megabucks of other clubs.
Ozil wanted us and we wanted him.
His arrival signalled the supposed dawning a new era.
No longer would we have to do our shopping in the pound shop. We weren’t just browsing in Harrod’s now, we were picking players off the shelf, popping them in our basket, and paying for them on our way out the door.
Ozil heralded a promise of more. And it came. We won the FA Cup. Then we signed Alexis Sanchez and won the FA Cup again. In the summer just gone we spent £100m.
But do you really, honestly, think that Alexis would have signed for Arsenal had Mesut Ozil not already been there?
Alexis looks like he’s certainly off in the summer, but it’s less clear-cut with Mesut Ozil.
Should he also walk out the door, he takes with him more than his delectable skills. He takes with him the hope his arrival sparked. Then what do we believe in?