Mesut Ozil has been frozen out at Arsenal and former manager Arsene Wenger described the situation as “a waste” for the midfielder and the club.
The German playmaker, now 31, joined in a then club-record deal from Real Madrid seven years ago, with Wenger saying Ozil possessed “all the attributes I look for in an Arsenal player”.
But his reputation has nosedived since that reported £42.5million move and Ozil was left out of Mikel Arteta’s Europa League squad last week, underlining how isolated he now is at the Gunners.
Wenger, whose 22-year time at the helm ended in 2018, lamented the position Ozil finds himself in and urged the club to reconsider their approach.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 2, 2020
“I feel it is a waste for him,” Wenger told BBC Sport of Ozil, who is reportedly earning £350,000 a week but has not played this season.
“Firstly because he’s in the years where a player of his talent can produce the most. And it’s a waste for the club as well because he’s a super talent, a creative talent that in the final third can create that killer pass.
“The way football is going at the moment it’s quick counter-pressing, quick transitions and everybody plays the same. It’s kicked out players like Ozil. Although let’s not forget who this guy is: a world champion who has played at Real Madrid.
“He’s been the record player of assists, so you have to find a way to get him involved again.”
Ozil’s decline has been evident in the data behind his Arsenal career, which peaked in the 2015-16 season when he laid on 19 assists and created 28 big chances in 35 Premier League outings.
Only Thierry Henry and Kevin De Bruyne have had more assists in a Premier League season, with 20 each in 2002-03 and 2019-20 respectively.
But the numbers have gone the wrong way since then for Ozil, with dips to nine and then eight assists in 2016-17 and 2017-18, and big chances created sliding to nine and 13 across those same seasons.
Worse was to follow in the 2018-19 campaign, when he had two assists to his name in 24 top-flight appearances, a tally he matched last season from 18 outings.
Although Wenger may not like seeing his one-time star signing slide into obscurity, the Frenchman does rate Arteta.
“He has the ingredients to be a very good manager, a top manager, but many of my former players had these ingredients,” he said.
“We have to give them time, let them do their job in the way they want to do it.
“He’s intelligent, he has big passion and a strong character. And I believe he’s surrounding himself with the right people.”
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