Unai Emery’s revolution at Arsenal might have got off to a shaky start following 2 consecutive defeats against Manchester City and Chelsea but the Spanish manager secured his 1st win of the season last weekend against West Ham United following a slight scare.
However, for Emery, the biggest worry in these early weeks hasn’t been the teams form but the performance of his star player Mesut Ozil, who after being hooked early against Chelsea was altogether dropped from the matchday squad on Saturday against the Hammers. The German national hasn’t faced a lot of media scrutiny over the past 2 months following his sudden retirement from international football after he was heavily criticised in following Germany’s World Cup debacle.
With his international career finished, at the age of 29, Ozil has his focus completely on his club career but looking at the way the season has started for him under Emery, there is a possibility that the German might not be in the red of Arsenal come the start of the next season. In this article, we look at the reasons why Unai Emery could be forced to sell Mesut Ozil in the upcoming January transfer window.
Change in Arsenal’s playing style under Unai Emery
It’s not a secret that former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was a big supporter of Mesut Ozil. The Frenchman bought Ozil in 2013 for £42.5 million, a club record fee at that time and was also in charge when the German signed a 5-year contract extension earlier this year, making him the highest paid player at Arsenal.
However, ever since Emery has arrived at Arsenal, there is a clear lack understanding between the Spanish manager and Ozil, who at times was almost over-protected by Wenger in front of the media and fans. There have been rumours this week that Emery and Ozil have had a massive bust-up in training and that was the real reason for his absence on Saturday.
But the bigger worry is that Emery’s philosophy of heavy-pressing and energy off the ball is something the German is still trying to get a grasp of. Over his long career, if there is one thing Ozil hasn’t been known for it’s his effort to help with the defensive duties for the team and this could very well be the main reason for Ozil to bid adieu to the Gunners if he fails to fall in line with Emery’s strategies and playing philosophy.
Continuous dip in performance
When Mesut Ozil arrived at Arsenal, he was rated among the best playmakers in the world and was even referred to by some as the best Number 10 in the game. However, over the past few years, Ozil’s performance has seen a considerable dip.
Just in the Premier League, in the last 3 seasons, Ozil contribution has come down significantly. In 2015-2016, he scored 6 and assisted 19, which in 2016-2017 came down to 8 goals and 10 assists and in the last season, he could only contribute 4 goals and 9 assists.
At Real Madrid, Ozil managed to assist his team-mates a total of 81 times in 159 matches, while at Arsenal in 198 appearances, the German has only managed 71 assists, even though he has scored 10 more goals. In Europa League last season, in which Arsenal was knocked out by eventual winners Atletico Madrid, Ozil managed to get on the scoresheet only once.
Continuous criticism for being a passenger in big encounters
Mesut Ozil’s arrival at Arsenal was accompanied by a lot of fan-fare but over the past few seasons, the Gunners support base has often got on the German’s back for his uninspired performances against the top sides. Ozil, who is known to be a creative force has only managed to find the back of the net only 6 times and assisted further 10 goals in his 51 matches against the Premier League Top 6.
Ever since Ozil shifted base from Madrid to London, he has been hugely criticised by fans and pundits for his lack of effort against the top teams. He has been referred to as a passenger by these pundits, and the fans have often pointed to his lack of effort as a reason for Arsenal’s eventual defeat. The fact that Arsenal can’t rely on him to get them over the line against the top teams is something that has troubled the Gunners support base hugely and with now a new manager at the helm, it could even mean an end to his Arsenal tenure once in for all.
The mental state of Mesut Ozil at this moment at Arsenal
Mesut Ozil signed a new 5-year contract at Arsenal just a few months back but at this moment, the German looks low on confidence and after his retirement announcement, he has been surrounded by extra-media scrutiny, as people have debated whether his reasons for quitting international football were justified or not. The fact that he is currently even struggling to get into the Arsenal squad just goes to show the confidence level that the German is enjoying at the moment.
With so much media attention on him and his future, there is a huge pressure on Ozil to start performing under the reign of Emery otherwise, it could soon be curtains for him at the Emirates as we know the new manager’s reputation when it comes to dealing with players who are creating uncertainty around the clubs dressing room. The former Sevilla might just be forced to sell his star player in order to bring back some calmness at the club.
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