There is no player in the Arsenal squad that divides opinion more than Mesut Özil.
Some people think he’s lazy, others think he’s under appreciated – it’s hard to know what to think of him.
On one hand he is capable of doing things no-one else can do with a football – and that is no exaggeration. I can’t think of anyone else who can see a pass like this guy. In terms of vision, execution and delivery he is a one off. He is consistently top of all the assist leader boards, and has been for the last few seasons. He was a massive part of Germany winning the World Cup in 2014 and has won honours with Real Madrid and Arsenal. On his day, he is unplayable.
But on the other he is frustrating. We all know he is capable of 10 out of 10 performances but they don’t come often enough. The problem is he isn’t like Messi, Ronaldo or even Neymar – players who earn huge money but can in the blink of an eye pull off something special – score from a free-kick, lash one in from 30 yards, take on 3/4 players and score – basically inspire the team when the going gets tough. If Arsenal are having a bad day at the office, then so is Özil.
The problem now is Emery is (quite rightly) a manager who expects certain things from his players. If we want to support the new manager and want the club to move forwards then the players have to adapt. We’ve seen a marked improvement from players like Granit Xhaka, Hector Bellerin, Alex Iwobi and others, yet some like Özil have been left behind.
The other big problem is the size of Özil’s wage packet. He’s on superstar money and according to various sources the second highest paid player in the Premier League.
List of highest paid players in the Premier League:
1. Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United) – £500,000 a week
2. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) – £350,000 a week
3. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) – £290,000 a week
4. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) – £260,000 a week
5. Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) – £250,000 a week
6. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) – £220,000 a week
7. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – £200,000 a week
= Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) – £200,000 a week
= David de Gea (Manchester United) – £200,000 a week
= Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) – £200,000 a week
= Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – £200,000 a week
= Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) – £200,000 a week
As you can see Manchester United, unsurprisingly, have some mega stars on their books, which makes sense as they are constantly at the top of the richest football clubs in the world. City have a few names in there, which also doesn’t surprise anyone and we also have Aubameyang on high wages, as he was cheap from Dortmund and to his credit, he keeps scoring goals.
But to have Mesut Özil as the second highest earner in the entire league is just ludicrous! And he’d be the highest earner if we didn’t balls up the whole Alexis Sanchez situation and kept him at the club (which for the record, we should have).
Arsene Wenger did many great things at Arsenal but giving Özil a truly astonishing pay rise was crazy. The money would have been far better spent trying to keep Alexis Sanchez (who was our best player by a mile) as well as trying to hold on to Aaron Ramsey.
The issue now is finding another club who would be stupid enough to pay Özil that kind of money. The only way Arsenal could find a willing buyer would be to drastically reduce the fee for the player – so a footballer who is probably worth around £45 million in the current climate is probably only worth around £20 million now, and that’s if we’re lucky.
But what do you think we should do with Özil? Keep him? Sell him in the summer? Sell him now?
Cast your vote below and leave your thoughts in the comments section!