Legendary ex-Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger has given Gunners Mikel Arteta some insights on how to get the best out of Mesut Ozil.
The midfielder does not appear to fit into Arteta’s current plans at the Emirates Stadium, with his attention-grabbing omission from the Europa League squad, the latest blow to his chances of breaking back into the thinking at the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger believes that the 31-year-old can still be useful to the team, but he requires a certain system in place for him to thrive.
In an interview with Der Speigel, Wenger said: “He wasn’t exactly the one with the greatest discipline on the pitch. And playing the game without the ball wasn’t exactly his forte. But you can deal with that if you put some more defensively minded players by his side. The main thing is to get the balance between attack and defence right.”
Wenger did hint, however, that the way the game is played now is perhaps not to the liking of the former Real Madrid man.
“Players have lost their technical quality over the past 10 years,” Wenger argued. “Athleticism has become more important than technique and decision making. It’s more about physical characteristics and intensity, about explosiveness. And it’s also about being a showman.”
Ozil signed for the Gunners when Wenger was still in charge in the summer of 2013 and in the 2015-16 season recorded 19 assists in the Premier League – the second most on record at the time behind Thierry Henry’s 20 in the 2002-03 season, a tally since matched by Kevin De Bruyne.
Ozil was also the fastest player in Premier League history to 50 assists – however Man City midfielder De Bruyne has since beaten that record – but he continues to possess the distinct quality of being the only player to top the assist charts in La Liga, the Bundesliga and the Premier League.
Despite this, Ozil has proven to be a polarising figure among the Arsenal support due to his perceived lack of work rate.
Arteta, meanwhile, has frozen him out of the first team while the player has insisted that he will not be moved on, much to the frustration of some supporters, who believe he is picking up a large wage for doing little.
Earlier this week, Ozil said he would pay the wages of Gunnersaurus after the mascot was let go by the club after 27 years of service.