I want to like Özil, I really do.
Actually, that’s a lie, I want to love Özil.
But it’s just so damn hard.
He’s been at Arsenal for over a season now and for whatever reason, he’s just not doing it. He’s not performing like a £42.3 million player should.
I am not completely ignorant and understand the talent he has, the big question is – is Mesut Özil an Arsenal player? Is he suited to the Premier League?
Alexis Sanchez, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy have all hit the ground running. They’ve settled in, and their high-energy performances have pleased the fans. Özil however just doesn’t seem to be doing it.
People argue that it’s because he’s being played out of position, or that he’s shattered after playing all summer. But for me, there is a more fundamental problem with him – he’s just not what Arsenal need.
The main problem is there are better players in his position. Santi Cazorla already fulfils that role well and with Tomas Rosicky as backup, the role is well catered for. Another problem is that he needs to play alongside certain types of players – rapid warriors such as Cristiano Ronaldo who can latch onto his intelligent balls – and for whatever reason the other Arsenal players aren’t on the same wavelength.
That’s not a criticism of Mesut Özil or the other Arsenal forwards – everyone has their own style of player – but is a clear indicator that Özil is not what we need.
We had a chance to bring Cescy back for around £28 million (depending on the reports you believe) this summer and after having a conversation with the Arsenal manager, Cesc revealed that Arsene said he already had Özil in his position. At the time I thought Wenger was better off selling Özil, banking the spare money and bringing Fabregas back to The Emirates – he desperately wanted to come back to Arsenal, he wouldn’t need time settling in and knows the club inside and out. And most importantly, doesn’t need to adapt to Premier League football.
And you see how he’s performing for Chelsea now – he is the focal point of their team, suppling the bullets for Diego Costa to fire Chelsea to the Premier League title it seems.
If we brought Cesc back, we’d have one hell of a chance to win the title, and do special things in the Champions League.
You also wonder how much Arsene Wenger wanted Mesut Özil in the first place. He was only made available on the last day of the transfer window last summer and if you ask me, it was a case of having a world class player available and taking a chance on him. I don’t believe that Arsene wanted Özil all along, and I genuinely believe that if Karim Benzema or Gonzalo Higuain were made available on the last day then they could have easily arrived at Arsenal as well.
I think Özil’s availability was too much of a good opportunity to miss and we took it. But over 12 months on it looks like a big mistake.
Our performances improved as a team once Özil arrived, but his influence quickly wore off. He put in some good shifts and scored a few goals, but went off the boil. We won the FA Cup but he contributed very little to that success. In games he’s ended up being a liability.
Arsene Wenger is finding himself trying to justify Özil’s place in the team. With the massive price tag, dropping him is not an option even though it would be the best thing to do. Santi Cazorla should have played against Manchester City at the weekend and he does a lot more in terms of tracking back. With the energy and running of Sanchez, Cazorla, Ramsey and Wilshere Manchester City would never have equalised in the last 10 minutes. Having Özil on the pitch is a liability.
There are Arsenal and Germany supporters who are critical of Özil for varying reasons, the main one being his work rate is poor. Defenders of him will point to his statistics, saying his passing figures are exemplary. But the problem is for all the short passes (which offer no real penetration in most games) he is on the whole ineffective.
If you look at the positives this season, has he really contributed? Did he help in the late comeback against Everton? Did he contribute in the two Arsenal goals against Manchester City?
The problem we have is that we now have a player which such a big price tag that we can’t drop him. And it seems clear that Arsene Wenger doesn’t know what to do with him either. Whereas Cesc Fabregas was nurtured in Arsene’s methodology and would have made a massive impact on this team.