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Sir Alex Ferguson watches Mesut Ozil

Man Utd vs Liverpool 22/10/2006
Ok, the story is nothing new. Manchester United have been linked with Mesut Ozil since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. This time, however, the story appears to have a little more substance. Sir Alex Ferguson was spotted at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon where Fulham were playing Werder Bremen. Mesut Ozil, of course, was playing for Werder Bremen. Perhaps Sir Alex Ferguson’s visit to Fulham’s home stadium was merely congenial, possibly just to say hello to Mark Hughes, the ex Manchester United player (and ex Manchester City manager too), or to monitor another player on the pitch. Browsing through the players on display though it appears unlikely.

Unfortunately Mesut Ozil did not have his best individual performance, neither did Werder Bremen have a particularly impressive collective performance losing 5-1. In spite of the defeat the basics of Mesut Ozil’s technique were apparent. He is a player capable of maintaining control of the ball and showcasing delicate touches even in difficult circumstances. Sir Alex Ferguson might have been hoping for more but he would no doubt appreciate Ozil’s willingness to even feature in the match. After all, Patrice Evra and Wayne Rooney completed their involvement in the 2010 World Cup within two weeks whereas Mesut Ozil was involved until the final weekend. Wayne Rooney only returned to training a week ago and Patrice Evra has just returned now. Mesut Ozil, on the other hand, is already playing in friendlies hundreds of kilometres away from his home. This type of dedication to the game, in such a situation Mesut Ozil might easily have suggested he was fatigued and asked for another week of holiday, is precisely the type of hunger Sir Alex Ferguson expects his players to have everyday.

This week Sir Alex Ferguson indicated there was no need for any new signings at Manchester United but after watching Mesut Ozil play on Saturday afternoon he might just have been trying to force Werder Bremen’s hand into releasing Ozil for a substantially lower fee. Real Madrid have also been linked with Mesut Ozil for much of the summer and recently signed his international midfield partner, Sami Khedira. Just yesterday Jose Mourinho, the new Real Madrid coach, flirted with the idea of another signing in his press conference and even pushed his board into trying to make one.


Creative Commons License photo credit: jjlennon