Arsenal’s club-record signing Mesut Ozil is in line to make his debut in Saturday’s Premier League clash against Sunderland.
The former Real Madrid playmaker joined the London club on the final day of the transfer window and could be handed his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt at the Stadium of Light.
Manager Arsene Wenger believes the Germany international will add even further depth to his side, who have enjoyed a positive start to the new Premier League season and sit fourth after bouncing back from an opening-day defeat to Aston Villa with back-to-back wins.
“Ozil has a style that will integrate (with) our style of play,” Wenger said. “He has all the attributes to be one of our leaders.
“Ozil is at a good age, he is already a great player. There is room for him to become dominant and step up.”
Arsenal return from the international break in good form after overcoming arch-rivals Tottenham 1-0 at the Emirates in their last Premier League outing, thanks to a goal from Olivier Giroud.
And Wenger admits that he is glad to get back to action on the pitch after finally ending questions over signings.
The Frenchman was under pressure from sections of the Arsenal fans to bring in new additions during the window, but he insisted he was always confident of managing to capture quality rather than quantity.
“I looked a bit lonely when I said I was optimistic (about a big signing),” he continued. “At the Tottenham game I thought we would manage it. We were open to bring one more player in, or two.”
Arsenal will be without Tomas Rosicky (hip) for the visit to Wearside, although Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott are both available after coming through their international outings with England unscathed.
For Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio, it has been a tough a start to the campaign, with his side yet to record a win in the league – a 1-1 draw with Southampton sandwiched between defeats to Fulham and Crystal Palace, leaving the club 19th in the table.
The Italian will not be happy to hear either that Sunderland have won just one of their last nine home games against Arsenal in the Premier League.
Di Canio has made three new additions to his squad since the 3-1 defeat at Selhurst Park last time out, bringing in Ki Sung-Yueng, Andrea Dossena and Fabio Borini before the window closed.
The latter is on loan from Liverpool and has targeted a regular run in Di Canio’s side after struggling with injuries over recent seasons.
“My first thought is to have a clear season with nothing major happening,” he told The Sunderland Echo.
“I’ve always proved myself in the short-term – Swansea was a three-month loan (where he scored six in eight Championship starts) and then it was three months at Roma before injuries.
“I would like at least six or seven months without getting injured, which would mean all season.”
Sunderland could welcome back Lee Cattermole while strikers Jozy Altidore and Steven Fletcher are also both available for selection.
However, they will be without the suspended John O’Shea as well as Craig Gardner (groin) and Phil Bardsley (ankle).