Mesut Ozil is The Perfect Player and the Ultimate Conundrum
It isn’t difficult to understand why Mesut Ozil has so many fans. The Gunners midfielder has it all: enviable vision, balance, power, an impressive and unexpected burst of pace, and superb technique. If you were designing the best football player you could imagine for today’s Premer League, he would be close to Ozil. The problem with the man who has it all, however, is that he provides very little on the pitch. Whoever manages Arsenal will have to deal with that very real problem. For now, the conundrum lies with Mikel Arteta. It’s certainly one that Unai Emery failed to solve.
Football managers might feel more like playing Videoslots online than managing Mesut: he came to Arsenal in 2013 after he was signed by a manager who had been at the club for 17 years. But even Arsene Wenger couldn’t work out what it would take to motivate the German. Among Wenger’s seminal moments was a match between Arsenal and Manchester City when the north London side played abysmally in the second half. Ozil was awful.
It hadn’t been an easy week for the one-time Real Madrid player. Just a few days earlier, it was clear how intimidated he was by the hostile Goodison atmosphere as Arsenal lost another lead to Everton.
Then there was the City match where his presence was insignificant. What bemused Wenger, however, was the player’s reaction after the match. He put on a display of anger in the dressing room, taking out his rage on a locker.
It isn’t a rare occurrence for a player to destroy objects after a match but the majority of them display some of it on the pitch. Wenger couldn’t fathom why the player couldn’t channel that anger into the match. It was a sequence of events that showed Wenger he had bet on the wrong man.
No moving on
While Ozil may be the club’s most talented player, he is also a liability. There isn’t much chance of him moving on, either. He’s under contract until after the 2021 season, earns £350,000 a week, and enjoys living in London.
Ozil used to have everything you needed to build a team around. Few other Premier League player possessed the range of skills to change and dominate games. However, it’s become apparent that he doesn’t possess application or leadership, a point which a number of teammates have expressed in private.
Sticking the boot in
It would be a mistake to think that Mesut doesn’t feel the criticism or lacks passion. Sticking his boot into lockers is a mere part of it.
After Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup Final two years ago, he mocked journalists on social media in a reaction to their prediction of a Chelsea win. Wenger hoped that he could tap into this side of Mesut to draw out improved performances, but there has only been an occasional glimpse of brilliance. Despite some improvement from Ozil under Arteta, the new boss might be forced to concede that there’s no getting through to the player, or that he just isn’t the player he once was.
There’s no doubt about it: Mesut is a superb football player. However, he’s more likely to go missing when he’s needed the most. It seems that when it comes to Mesut, having it all amounts to nothing when it really matters.