Arsene Wenger says Arsenal star Mesut Ozil – so often maligned in the past – has “something special” and has shown critics he is a “fighter”.
Ozil joined the Gunners in 2013 for £42.5million but has often been criticised for what can appear his relaxed style of play.
However, the German international has been one of the players of the season this term, setting the record for assists made in consecutive matches – leading to Ozil to suggest he is in the form of his life.
“Ozil is the main provider in the team and the league, 13 assists. Players who can make you score are very difficult to find and have something special,” Wenger said.
“But people forget that he is an exceptional fighter as he runs much more and has added runs into the box now. He has become an absolutely unbelievable player.”
The 27-year-old will be key to Arsenal’s chances this season, both domestically and in Europe, where the Gunners have been handed a tough tie against reigning champions Barcelona in the Champions League.
Barcelona knocked Arsenal out of the competition in 2010 and 2011, but Wenger believes his side are now “more mature” and can cause the Catalan giants a problem.
“We played against Barcelona with top teams but were very inexperienced and very young,” he added.
“It was always very tight. We were sometimes unlucky as well. I do not forget that, we have the chance to put things right and I will focus on that.”