The stereotype of Arsenal fans as bipolar is by now well-established, but rarely have we seen a better example of it than in the past few weeks. The Mesut Özil signing has placated the masses, taking them from the first-day rage into giddy optimism.
The simple fact is that one injury will take them back to where they were in those dark days of yore a couple of weeks ago. As volatile as minds in North London can be, it's hard to imagine that anger coming back, but there's a reason for it.
At the start of the day, Arsenal were linked to Özil. They were also linked to Demba Ba, Julian Draxler, Angel Di Maria and Abel Hernandez, yet none of these materialised. In that sense, it was a disappointing window, but it doesn't tell the whole story. Manchester United fans may have been furious on deadline day, but that's been the story every year for Arsenal. Mesut Özil was a radical break away from that - it didn't matter he played in a position Arsenal didn't need, or that it was too much money for one player. He was a sign of something deeper, a world-class player joining plucky little Arsenal for a world-class fee. He had, like Prince, become a symbol. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, or the artist formerly known as a player with forwards worth passing to.
There's nothing wrong with that. But a feelgood factor around the club's fanbase won't transform things on the pitch. Arsenal still have a dodgy defence, desperately lack defensive midfield options even with Mathieu Flamini, and are in need of a top-class striker. If Ozil is injured they are back to where they were.
Comparisons were made between Özil and Robin van Persie, about how United didn't 'need' the Dutchman either. That was perhaps a stroke of genius, not having enough money for the overhaul necessary so simply buying a player to carry them. But a player who trades in assists, not goals, may not have the same effect. He may struggle to get so many of those assists when he has Olivier Giroud rather than Cristiano Ronaldo on the receiving end.
That, of course, is example of a statistical weakness and it doesn't alter Özil's supreme creativity or his status as perhaps the finest player of his type in the world, but it does bring to quesiton whether he can truly carry this Arsenal side. For Özil to play at his best, he needs players in front and behind worthy of his talent. It's the reason (in the latter case at least) that, while Van Persie has been a great success for United, Shinji Kagawa has not.
That is to say nothing of the already inherent dangers of being reliant on a single player. The fight for fourth will be very fierce this year, and with three difficult sides in their Champions League group, Arsenal have little margin for error, and so little time in which to rest Özil. His position and role is also one most susceptible to a lack of a pre-season. The club has made a bold break with their grim recent past, but so far it's only in a symbolic manner.
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Manchester United's transfer window didn't go too badly, we hear, because of Wayne Rooney. Keeping him was The Most Important Signing Of The Summer.
Except of course, he hasn't signed anything. Or recaptured his form. Or given any assurances that he will, or looked any fitter, or reduced his wages, or given any real rededication of himself to the club. Even if he did all of those things, it'd be desperate to paint this as a victory. Without them, it's as hollow as it gets.
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Now that the dust has settled, United's transfer window doesn't look quite as bad as it did. We hear that Fellaini gave up 4m of bonuses (he'll soon recoup that at United, and it was necessary for the deal to go through, so he's hardly done it as an altruistic measure) and so United's fee was not in excess of his release clause. We also know the Fabio Coentrao hold-up was at Real Madrid's end. Over Ander Herrera, there is still confusion.
But it doesn't change the fact there are serious questions to be asked. Only one man, we are told, has been replaced, but a catastrophe of these proportions should not be able to be inflicted by one man at an organisation of United's side. Fellaini was left pointlessly late, and Herrera was treated appallingly. Within the club, there is a dislike of the new regime compared to the previous one - the only saving grace will be if it really was just down to teething troubles.