‘He wasn’t the one with the greatest discipline on the pitch’: Arsene Wenger insists Mikel Arteta can get the best out of £350,000-per-week Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil by ‘putting more defensively minded players by his side’
- Mesut Ozil was left out of Arsenal’s 25-man Europa League squad this week
- The former Germany international has been frozen out by boss Mikel Arteta
- But former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger still believes he could fit in at the club
- Wenger brought Ozil to the north London club for £42.5million seven years ago
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes current incumbent Mikel Arteta can get the best out of outcast Mesut Ozil if he includes more defensively-minded players around him.
The 31-year-old has not competitively played for the Gunners since March and was left out of the club’s 25-man squad for this season’s Europa League earlier this week as he struggles to make his way back into the side at Emirates Stadium.
The former Germany international continues to earn £350,000 per week despite being frozen out by Arteta, but Wenger – who brought Ozil to the club in 2013 – believes the midfielder can still be effective, but needs a structure in place that can counter his weaknesses with discipline and without the ball.
Arsene Wenger (right) says Mikel Arteta can still get the best out of Mesut Ozil (left) at Arsenal
Ozil was left out of Arsenal’s 25-man squad for this season’s Europa League earlier this week
‘He wasn’t exactly the one with the greatest discipline on the pitch,’ Wenger told German outlet Der Spiegel. ‘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.’
Wenger, who is now FIFA’s Chief Head of Global Football Development, however conceded that the current game is perhaps not best suited to the World Cup winner Ozil.
‘Players have lost their technical quality over the past 10 years,’ Wenger continued. ‘Athleticism has become more important than technique and decision making.
It represented the latest move of how he has been frozen out by current boss Mikel Arteta
But Wenger still believes Ozil could flourish in the right system if it is used by the Spaniard
‘It’s more about physical characteristics and intensity, about explosiveness. And it’s also about being a showman.’
Spaniard Arteta recognised that midfield was an issue for Arsenal and attempted to rectify it in the summer transfer window by bringing in Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid for £45million on deadline day.
Ozil meanwhile joined the Gunners for £42.5m seven years ago and in the 2015-16 season recorded 19 assists in the Premier League.
That tally is the second most behind Thierry Henry’s 20 in the 2002-03 season, which has since been matched by Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.
Arteta did strengthen his central midfield options by buying Thomas Partey on deadline day
He was also the quickest player in top-flight history to 50 assists, but Belgian De Bruyne has also since beaten that record.
However, he does not appear to be in Arteta’s plans now, and Sportsmail understands the club are looking to hold talks with Ozil over ripping up his enormous contract before the January transfer window.
The German has also offered to pay the wages of Gunnersaurus after the Arsenal mascot was sacked by the club.
Meanwhile, Wenger, 70, is hoping to lead a revolution in football by radically altering the throw-in rule to allow players to kick the ball back into play.
Wenger brought Ozil to the club in the summer of 2013 in a £42.5million deal with Real Madrid
Ozil recorded 19 assists in the Premier League during the 2015/16 season under Wenger
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