Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claims Mesut Ozil can still succeed as long as he has the right players next to him.
In recent years, Ozil has struggled to recapture the kind of form during the early days of his Arsenal career, when Wenger was still the manager.
The German midfielder has not featured in a single matchday squad under Mikel Arteta since before lockdown. He was also omitted from Arsenal’s list of players for the Europa League this season.
Ozil remains one of the highest-paid players in the Premier League, but has done little to justify those wages over the past couple of seasons. He only scored once in 2019-20.
However, his former boss Wenger thinks Ozil can still flourish if he is deployed alongside more defensive players.
Wenger told Der Spiegel: “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.”
‘Athleticism has become more important than technique’
However, Wenger admitted that changes to the style of football over the past decade have not helped Ozil.
He added: “Players have lost their technical quality over the past 10 years. 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 has scored 44 goals in 254 games for Arsenal since joining them from Real Madrid in 2013. Of those goals, 37 came under Wenger.
The 31-year-old’s contract expires next summer.