Mesut Ozil dropped a beast of a press release about his treatment over the World Cup issues. His angst seems to centre around his belief that his Turkish heritage has made him a scapegoat for a shit show from the national team. He also seems very upset at the damage the picture of him with the Turkish President has done, particularly with charity partners who have abandoned him.
I feel for him. The racist overtones in the press are awful, it’s unfair that his performances at the World Cup are seen through dual nationality. However, I can’t feel for him losing partners. Standing tall with authoritarianism was an ignorant move. Whether he was badly advised, or he just didn’t think it through, when you align with a tyrant, you’ve opened yourself up to criticism. Erdogan is a monster, he is savaging Turkish institutions that protect democracy and regardless of where your heritage sits, to be seen as normalizing that with a photo opp is beyond stupid.
Where he does have a point is that in a society that’s said fuck it to consequences for behaviour in poor taste, it’s interesting that a German-Turk gets the full force of alienation. Still, I struggle with whataboutism when it comes to monsters. Mesut’s reasoning for the photo is that he didn’t want to disrespect his ancestry. I find that weak. He might think it’s just a cute pic for the family, but for others, it was normalising a tyrant. Tell your story of ‘I didn’t think of anything other than the pic’ to the jailed judges, civil servants and free press.
Ozil has a massive PR job on his hands, I’m not sure he’s going to shift sentiment with juvenile PR releases that seem to lack a north star. He should own the mistake, make a statement on the pitch and try and and remedy the broken trust with the German public with actions.
In CEO news, the Ivan G story won’t budge with Corriere stating he’s the choice for AC Milan and he’ll head there this September. Now this has been rolling in the media for a week without a firm statement of denial, you have to wonder if the smoke is starting to choke out the truth.
I’d still be surprised if he moved. It’d be a desperately poor show of leadership. He’s spent 9 months in real control of the club. He’s pulled in executives from around the world to guide his vision, luring them based on the trust he’ll be here to support the project. To duck out at the first glamorous door knock would tell you a lot about who is really is if he does it. He’ll be leaving a junior project rudderless, which in the short term could be damaging especially if the new manager doesn’t pan out. More to the point, CEO search and select isn’t a two-week process. It takes months. You have to craft plans, interview with a load of people, meet and greet staff and negotiate complicated compensation deals. If this story is true, he’s been making extremely long-term decisions for Arsenal with his head in AC Milan clouds. That’s really shitty if true.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. He’s been a solid administrator. He’s overseen a tough stadium move and we’re A-Ok. But really, can you say he blew it out the park? It took him 12 years to convince Stan that Wenger was a dud. He oversaw a train wreck transfer policy, he allowed Wenger to grow a ridiculous socialist wage policy, he was ineffectual at implementing a rugged football infrastructure and he lied to the fans over and over again. Not just that, look at our commercial deals. Hardly inspiring, are they?
He has the chance at to shape his legacy at a club he can become a legend. I hope he stays on, but if he doesn’t, it’s an opportunity to hire in someone who can find that elusive next level.
Finally, Arsenal is linked to the very sexy Yann Sommer. The 29-year-old Swiss was excellent at the world cup and he’d move as competition to Leno. That’d give me some relief.
Right, I’m ducking out. x