Ozil 'like a new signing' but January was a 'rescue window' for Wenger, says Keown

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The Gunners countered the loss of Alexis Sanchez by acquiring Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but still have work to do

Mesut Ozil’s new contract will feel like a new signing, says Martin Keown, but there is still work to be done after a productive “rescue window” at Arsenal.

The Gunners entered 2018 aware that they were running the risk of seeing two key figures head for the Emirates Stadium exits.

Alexis Sanchez did secure a move elsewhere, as a man running down his deal in north London linked up with Manchester United, but that loss was countered by a trade for Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Arsenal also managed to complete a club-record £55 million move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on deadline day, as Goal revealed that Ozil is poised to commit to fresh terms through to 2021.

Former Gunners defender Keown believes there is now cause for optimism around the club, but also feels a big summer is approaching, telling the Daily Mail on Ozil’s deal: “It is great news for Arsenal. For the fans, it will almost feel like another new signing. 

“Arsenal are in their lowest league position since negotiations with Ozil began and this could be a massive show of loyalty from the player. 

“Arsenal need him more than ever — and to keep him happy Arsene Wenger is going to have to buy the right players in the summer. 

“There seems to have been a speeding up in decision making when it has come to letting players go that we have not been sure about. Arsenal fans will be anxious to see who the replacements are going to be. 

“Wenger still has to get that central defensive partnership right — and the team have to learn how to stay in a game away from home.”

Arsenal have been able to clear out a lot of supposed deadwood in 2017-18, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud among the others to have been moved out, and Keown hopes Wenger is heading in the right direction after laying promising foundations.

He added: “Since the start of season, Arsenal have let a number of players go: Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and now Theo Walcott, Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud.

“Those players were not consistent enough for Arsenal and, by signing a player like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsene Wenger has shown he wants to go for proven quality and consistency. 

“It is vital that these players work for Arsenal. I am not sure how much stronger the Arsenal squad is following this window, but it signals the beginning of the change at the club. 

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“I said last week that Arsenal need to go big in the summer and maybe the arrivals of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan will be like Vieira and Anelka in 1996-1997 before Wenger went out and bought more ahead of the Double-winning campaign.

“This has been a rescue window for Arsenal. They could have lost Alexis Sanchez for nothing at the end of the season but they were able to get Henrikh Mkhitaryan in a swap deal before spending big on another player. 

“The signing of Aubameyang will relieve some of the pressure on Wenger from the fans. The aim will be for these players to rescue Arsenal’s season by winning the Europa League.”

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