When Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez joined Arsenal, it was the dawn of a bright new era. The Gunners were finally paying big money for world-class players. Except, that was a lie. Neither of the pair world-class.
The world-class label has been thrown around in football a little too loosely in the modern game. Both Ozil and Sanchez have benefitted from that fact – and they certainly have Paul Merson convinced.
“I had to laugh when I heard Alan Shearer saying Sergio Aguero was the only world-class player in the Premier League. Arsenal have two in their team in Sanchez and Ozil.”
“Are we going to judge everyone against Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo? Just because you’re not as good as them doesn’t mean you’re not world-class.”
There is no denying they are good players, the stats back them up in that regard but neither is world-class.
They played for Barcelona and Real Madrid but the fact they were allowed to leave is a clear indication that they aren’t at that level. These are giants in the European game who do not sell their best assets to anyone unless they want to.
Ozil managed 81 assists in 159 games for Madrid; Sanchez scored 47 goals in 141 games for Barcelona. Those are superb numbers and yet they were allowed to depart Spain with little fanfare. Why? Because they aren’t as good as Arsenal were led to believe.
Neither would have been allowed to leave the La Liga giants if they were world-class. The clubs would not have even contemplated the idea. They’d have put up a bigger fight if they had rated either player.
Both clubs were making excellent money on players who weren’t worthy of such prices and they knew it. They took Arsenal’s money without a second thought.
The attitudes of both players also make it hard to accept anyone claiming they are at that high level.
Sanchez has been nothing short of petulant in a number of games this season. His reactions to poor play and his all-around negativity at times have been hard to miss.
This attitude has negatively affected his performances. Sure, he’s been Arsenal’s best player this season but his usual high work-rate has been lacking.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) 7 March 2017
There is a similar issue with Ozil. The German is often criticised for his lack of work effort and that excludes him from that world-class bracket.
Defending isn’t part of his game but a complete lack of effort in that part of the game is inexcusable. In fact, his demeanour even in attacking situations is often lacking.
Compare that to the truly world-class players, who always put in a shift regardless of the situation and the Gunners duo trail in their wake. It’s hard to remember the last time Ozil and Sanchez turned up in a big game.
The current contract situation with both players is another clear indicator. They want big contracts and yet Arsenal are dragging their heels over it.
It suggests that Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board know they have players who aren’t befitting of such lofty pay packets.
If Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez or Robert Lewandowski demanded these types of wages at the Emirates, Arsenal would pay it instantly. In fact, they would smash their wage bracket to get such names in a Gunners shirt.
Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are not world-class players, and the Gunners were sold a very expensive lie when they were told both players were.