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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


“Reaction” To Arsenal Signing Mesut Özil 2013 And Dennis Bergkamp 1995

Written by on September 5, 2013 | 24 Comments »
Posted in Arsenal

Dateline: Highbury, London June 1995

Arsenal today obliterated their transfer record by paying Inter £7.5M ($8.92M) for Dutch international Dennis Bergkamp. The previous record fee paid by Arsenal was £2.5M ($3M). Twenty-six year-old Bergkamp arrives at Highbury having been shipped out by Inter after a torrid two-year spell in Italian soccer.

During his spell with Inter his form deteriorated so badly that an Italian publication renamed its “Donkey of the Week” award to “Bergkamp of the Week.”

To read more click on the link.

24 responses to ““Reaction” To Arsenal Signing Mesut Özil 2013 And Dennis Bergkamp 1995”

  1. Ed Gomes says:

    I think that Wenger and Arsenal finally got themselves a true world class player. I don’t think that anyone denies his talent, my concern would be the partying reports out of Spain. Real was willing to let him go, which also sets off alarms.
    If Ozil works the way he’s supposed to, he’ll be great.

  2. Alberta Gooner says:

    Hey Bobby,

    Brilliant “responses” created by you reacting to the Bergkamp news. I recall there was doubters — particularly given the size of fee — but also a fair amount of excitement about him joining the club due to his international pedigree with the Netherlands. I recall a lot more skepticism about Wenger’s appointment as manager than DB’s signing.

    If anything, I remember more hype around us signing Sol Campbell because we beat several European giants to his signature. Enraging Spurs and their supporters was just icing on the cake.

    Ozil feels even bigger, though and even longtime supporters are struggling to recall a bigger move into the club. One gooner of your vintage told me Ozil had topped the club buying Charlie Nicholas. Agree?

  3. Ed Gomes – did the partying stories come from the Real Madrid propaganda arm that goes by the name “Marca” by any chance?

  4. Charlie Nicholas not a big buy even back then – on par with Peter Marinello I would say.

  5. SMILEY says:

    We all know that Ozil is world class, the trouble is that he is a pure central attacking mid who dislikes playing wide… a la Cazorla.

    Watching SKY Sports announce the Ozil signing, all I saw was adolescent gooners jumping for joy (plus AG) as they see silverware ahead. I guess when someone has been denied sugar for so long… anything sweet will do. Meanwhile every pundit worth his salt recognizes that Arsenal were looking for a top CF (Rooney, Suarez, Higuain, Benzema) and ended up with yet another creative mid. Not to mention Arsenal’s lack of defensive and holding mid cover and a proper GK to keep young Szczesny on his toes.

    This may mark a new era for Wenger signing top world class players but if Arsenal finish more than 4 points from the top or get knocked out of the CL group stages… do you really think intelligent fans are foolish enough to say yet again… wait til next season?

    I think this is Wenger’s last season in London.

  6. Alberta Gooner says:

    Thanks for the response, Bobby. I figured gooners who were going that far back may have been over-reaching a bit.

  7. Ignatz says:

    I think this is a fantastic signing for Arsenal. It’s interesting to see all the fall-out in Madrid right now. Fans chanting at Bale’s unveiling and lots of quotes from first team players upset that Ozil is gone. And the German national team coach saying the sale is “incomprehensible”. So well done to the Arsenal and Wenger. It’s going to be interesting to see how Wenger handles the positive squad juggling he will have to do now. And he’ll be able to rest some key players from time to time.

    Of course – in the English press – it will all come down to how well Ozil does on a cold rainy Tuesday night in Stoke in February! There are already some stories about him being “a delicate flower”. I can’t imagine a night in Stoke would be any worse than an evening in Bilbao or Barcelona. Great signing for the Gunners!

  8. Ed Gomes says:

    Well put Bobby. But Mourinho was very annoyed with the work ethic of Ozil, DiMaria and Coentrao. You could add Cassilas to that bunch.
    I really love Ozil, and thing that Arsenal got themselves a great one. I understand him and Carzola not want to be out wide, but why not have a free flowing midfield, with Walcott providing the width.
    It’s fun to pick on him and his transfer, but Wenger is a very good manager. If you ask me, last season they had no business finishing top 4, yet they did.

    Benzema is not a top striker, and I would argue that Higuain has plenty to prove as well.

  9. John Bladen says:

    He’s a top notch signing IMO. I am a little concerned about the cost, but then that’s true of nearly every transfer of a world class player. Is it just me or had Real been turning a cold shoulder toward him of late? He seemed to be playing well from the little I saw of him, but got fewer minute than in previous years (my impression anyway, don’t really follow RM). Lowe disagrees with the sale, of course. But when would a manager ever say anything but “we need more good players”?

    To those whining about the needs at alternate positions: Arsenal certainly does have other needs. Arguably improvement at other positions is more urgently needed. However, I don’t think anyone can argue that Ozil isn’t a significant upgrade at his preferred position. When Arsenal can field their best 4 (or 5) MF this season, I don’t think you’ll find many better midfield groups in the PL (not saying they are the best, but they are in any discussion of the best).

    It may be stating the obvious… but Wenger has clearly changed his approach. At one time he looked to be trying to turn Arsenal into the French National team. Nowadays, he seems to want to be Germany…

    Been reading up a bit more about Sanogo… I don’t believe he’s a saviour, but he may raise a few eyebrows before the season is out (in a good way, hopefully).

  10. John Bladen says:


    Agreed on Wenger. There are certainly faults one can point to as regards purchases. However, I believe he put Arsenal clubs that weren’t worthy of a top 6 finish into the CL in each of the last two seasons.

  11. Cazorla lined up against Spurs as a wide player as he has done numerous times and like he has done numerous times he spent very little of the game playing wide. The player most impacted by Ozil is far more likely to be Rosicky.
    Since the days of Robert Pires Arsenal have tried to over weight in the centre of the park with the left full back pushing into the space or Henry dropping back to start runs.
    Only with the arrival of Cazorla have Arsenal been able to try something similar – Henry runs excepted.
    Smiley – Wenger’s last year? Like Fergie it will eventually happen.

  12. It will be interesting to see what comments Ozil makes after a few months in the BPL. Some creative players moving from La Liga to the BPL have mentioned that they are amazed at the amount of space they are given in BPL.

  13. Smiley says:

    I don’t understand the statement “I believe he put Arsenal clubs that weren’t worthy of a top 6 finish into the CL in each of the last two seasons. AND “… but Wenger is a very good manager. If you ask me, last season they had no business finishing top 4, yet they did. “

    When a manager has the finances to put together a top side, what kind of logic praises someone for driving a Lamborghini as if it were Honda and finishing 4th?

    “I don’t think anyone can argue that Ozil isn’t a significant upgrade at his preferred position”

    Cazorla could have easily put up the same stats if he were at Madrid (just look at Isco’s stats thus far). Not to mention Ozil may take time to adjust to the physicality and this “upgrade” you talk of puts Cazorla (Arsenal’s best and highest transfer) in a position he does not want to play.

    As for Benzema and Higuain not being top strikers, Benzema is both a pure creator and finisher with a point every other game who also scored for fun in Ligue 1 and Higuain’s numbers don’t lie. Both are better than either Soldado and Negredo (who are very good strikers) and have better points to minutes ratio.

    * Next season Wenger will have a 200M transfer kitty and only buy another attacking mid like Fabregas as deluded fans repeat “what he has done to finish 4th is remarkable…”

    Bobby – I actually called Fergie retiring as soon as he signed RvP… with Groundskeeper Willie as his replacement. Difference being, Fergie retired as a successful manager who adjusted with the times and didn’t let hubris hold his team back from achieving its full potential… and no I don’t mean 4th place CL! 🙂

  14. Ed Gomes says:

    Both Soldado and Negredo outclassed Benzema and Higuain. They were 4th and 5th respectively in goals per minute played last campaign.
    Higuain was 6th and Benzema was 19th.
    In total goals Negredo nips Soldado, once again 4th & 5th in the liga.
    Higuain is 8th while Benzema 16th.

    For me Higuain and Benzema are mostly goal poachers. When given time on the ball, both miss a ton of shots.

  15. Alberta Gooner says:


    Well spotted on Carzola, who actually played as a winger for Malaga and Villarreal but seems to be given freedom to roam and find space. Whenever he has played on the left for Arsenal, Gibbs and Monreal have pushed forward to provide width and enjoy exploiting the space that he creates as much as Clichy, Cashley, Sylvinho and Gio von Bronkhorst did in the past.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how Ozil and Carzola will link up. Opponents often keyed on Santi last year. Ozil’s presence should create more time and space for him to work his magic versus those parked buses and vice versa.

    Off to put a couple of pennies on Giroud as top goalscorer. He’s going off at 11.5 right now.

  16. Astronomer says:

    I disagree with you regarding two points you have made above:

    1. Wenger: I think the only scenario (other than health problems) that will make him retire is if he wins the EPL. Then Wenger — like Alejandro — might hang up his boots (or the oversized coat that he frequently wears) on a winning note.

    I doubt Arsenal will win the EPL this season. They are most likely going to finish 3rd or 4th and then there will be a groundswell of support for Wenger to continue with his project for one or more years. So don’t expect him to retire at the end of this season or for him to get fired.

    2. Benzema: He is a very inconsistent performer both for Real Madrid and France. He sometimes has these hot streaks when he scores many goals (including some cheeky ones a la Zlatan), but then he gets into a cold funk that lasts for many more games where he misses boatloads of easy chances. I think he is the weakest link in the Real Madrid offense.

    I think Florentino Perez made a big mistake when he signed Benzema in 2009 — David Villa was willing to be let go by Valencia at that time, but Perez, like so many others, was bitten by the Benzema bug.

    His performances for France are kind of similar. There also he is very inconsistent (only about 15 goals, scored in bunches, in nearly 60 matches).

    In terms of his recent form, he has scored, I believe, only 2 goals in his last 12 outings for France. And yet, Deschamps considers him to be undroppable (just like his two predecessors, Domenech and Blanc).


  17. John Bladen says:


    Are you suggesting that Arsenal’s alleged transfer kitty is Wenger’s to use as and when he alone decides? If so, it seems there’s a great deal you do not understand.

  18. John Bladen says:

    Astr: It’s early days, but based on the first team most would expect I would agree that Arsenal is most likely to finish 3/4. The difference this year is that they look like they should be a top four club… this was not the case in the last couple of years IMO.

  19. Smiley says:

    Ed – I said points (assists and goals) and my point was that either of the two (and even a Soldado, Negredo or Jovetic) would have added much needed depth if Arsenal are to be considered a top side fighting on all fronts. The top contenders have depth in RvP, Rooney, Chicha, Wellbeck, Aguero, Dzeko, Jovetic, Negredo, Soldado, Defoe, Suarex, Sturrdge…and what do we have but Giroud and Bendtner as our only “proper” CFs.

    Bladen – “Are you suggesting that Arsenal’s alleged transfer kitty is Wenger’s to use as and when he alone decides? If so, it seems there’s a great deal you do not understand.”

    Please enlighten us with your understanding and insight if you will.

    “But I think the final decision has to always be with the manager. He is the one who is responsible for the style of the team, and the results. It makes sense that the manager chooses the players who come in.”

    “Player valuations are not realistic”

    “People say: ‘Buy players, buy players, buy players … ‘ But who? (stated after failed bids on numerous players with a few days left in transfer window)
    – Arsene Wenger

    You may want to research some of Wenger’s quotes and the the facts surrounding his transfers and player valuation statements before any future posts on any matters. Unless you believe that Gazidis, Bernanke, Geitner or the Tooth Fairy have prohibited Wenger in spending the few extra million that were needed to sign a proper CB, DM, CF, Winger and GK in the past several seasons.

  20. Ed Gomes says:

    JB, I’m not sure Arsenal looks like a Top 4 club at all. Yes, they could get there, but adding Ozil does not make a CL appearance. They have injuries to deal with, and it’s the same squad as last campaign minus some depth.
    Wenger talks about the younger players starting to come through, but are they European quality?
    Maybe it’s good that they’re lacking, since it could mean an early exit from Europe and only league to worry about.

    I still recall how Podolski was so revered, when he’s missed more than hit in league play
    I still recall how Szczesny was so revered, when he had plenty of “Almunia” in him.
    Arteta was a huge player for Arsenal. Arteta, who should be a bench player in a club like this.
    Wilshere’s warts are showing.

    Obviously Arsenal has quality, ad if OX didn’t get injured he might have progressed.
    But Arsenal finishing top 4 will have a lot more to due at how fast the teams around them gel.

  21. Ed Gomes says:

    Everyone agrees that Ozil was a great signing by Wenger and Arsenal. But if the transfer had taken place at the beginning of the transfer window, would everyone be so giddy?
    In my opinion, mission not accomplished.

    Lets not give Man United a pass either. They had an awful transfer season. So much so, that they’ve resigned Nani.

  22. Astronomer says:

    Ed Gomes,
    In response to your question, I think Arsenal fans would have been giddy with the Mesut Ozil signing (a definite top-level one in terms of creative midfielders) had it happened at the beginning of the transfer window.

    In terms of mission accomplished or not, I would say that it is probably the latter, since most Arsenal fans still think that they need a central defender, a defensive midfielder, another striker, and possibly another goalkeeper. But from all the reports coming out of the Emirates, they still have a decent amount of money left for signing players for these other positions .

    Heck, if Man Ure had signed him, fans of that club also would have been yapping about the signing in orgasmic delight.

    I think among the top 4 clubs, Chelsea and Man City didn’t really need him, given all their other signings (but even then Mesut Ozil would have been the “first among equals” in terms of all the midfielders at those two clubs).

    I am not including Tottenham and Liverpool in the above response because I don’t think he would have gone to one of those two clubs because neither is in the Champions League this year.


  23. John Bladen says:


    I would still have viewed it as a top quality signing, can’t speak for anyone else.

    Perhaps Arsenal supporters are so starved for new talent that we expect four or five major signings every window? Don’t know.

    It’s a fair point that few of the recent signings are world class players… but can you name a club that will push them out of the top four if you think they won’t make it? Looking down the list, it’s hard for me to see Spurs or LFC doing it… and most seem to believe these are the closest of the pursuers.

    They still have needs, as Astronomer has pointed out, but they aren’t a bunch of mugs either. I think we tend to compare today’s squad by the 2005 standard… and no-one is that good today.

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