Mesut Özil creates an impossible situation for his manager. He can go for long periods — and by “long periods” I mean several weeks — in a kind of fog, trotting aimlessly up and down the pitch, rarely seeking the ball when the Gunners are in possession and rarely presuming to interfere when the other team is on the attack. But then, even in the midst of one of those funks, he can do what he did today: make the inch-perfect cross — or through-ball, or reverse pass, or surprising incisive run — that creates the goal that wins the match.
You just never know what you’re going to get from Özil. Wenger has to be greatly tempted to sit his ass on the bench for a couple of games … but, especially with Santi Cazorla out, he really doesn’t have anyone else who has that level of creativity. Heck, there aren’t ten players in the world with Özil’s level of creativity. (Creativity in this case being the imagination to see a possibility on the pitch and the technique to make that possibility happen.)
And then Wenger has to be thinking, Maybe, just maybe, I can find the key that will turn his motor on once and for all. Indeed, earlier this year it looked like he had found that key, as Özil went on a kind of scoring spree, producing a series of skillful and beautiful goals. But now he has lapsed back into his fog — and the fear now has to be that he will never come out of it.
All in all, and I have to say that I’ve gone back and forth on this point, I don’t think he’s worth the money he will command when his contract is up; whereas I do think Alexis is worth the money he will command. So I say: sign Alexis, let Özil go, use that money to buy two or three players, at least one of whom has a chance of replacing the aging Santi.