Should Arsenal sell Mesut Ozil in January? by SE
Mesut Ozil wasn’t his usual self prior to getting injured during Arsenal’s 0-2 defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, as the German had to play out of his preferred position and didn’t flourish for the Gunners. Playing on the flanks, Ozil’s positive attributes — incisive through balls, eye for a pass — were missed by Arsenal, who were also let down by the German’s reluctance to track back, and render some sort of defensive cover that you normally expect of your wingers. Going forward, what can Arsenal get out of Ozil adorning the red-and-white shirt or, is he just an Arsenal outcast? Read on.
In the first place, Arsene Wenger was forced into tweaking Arsenal’s style, and system of play, 4-2-3-1, which was working well and pertinent to the players Arsenal and Wenger had at their disposal, due to Alexis Sanchez signing from Barcelona during the summer for £32m. The Chilean’s inception into Arsenal’s plans meant that Wenger had to find a system that can accommodate all of his star players — Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil — who primarily play as forwards or wingers. With Welbeck, too, signing for the Gunners right at the fag end of the summer transfer window, Wenger has a challenge on his hands to accommodate all of the aforementioned names in his starting XI.
Talking a bit about the system, Wenger has no option but to stick to deploying 4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1 (whichever way you look at it), which means that Ozil simply has to resort to playing as a winger, and by doing so, challenge himself to exhibit his very best for Arsenal. If, however, the German continues to remain inhibited to playing on the flanks, where, when all said and done, he is not going to render much for Arsenal given the nature of player he is, I can’t see how Wenger can stick with him just because he’s Arsenal’s most expensive player ’til date.
Here’s the thing, though: Once Walcott returns, he will play as the right Winger, with Sanchez playing on the opposite flank, leaving Welbeck or Giroud to lead the line for the Gunners. If Wenger deploys the traditional 4-3-3 system that allows him to play two creative midfielders ahead of the defensive midfielder, Ozil could play alongside Aaron Ramsey or Jack Wilshere and hope to start weaving his magic once again. But it remains to be seen whether Wenger is audacious enough to not have Wilshere/Ramsey, Welbeck/Giroud, and even Mikel Arteta/Mathieu Flamini, starting for Arsenal on a consistent basis.
Albeit Ozil is a couple of months, at least, from returning to action, this might not be a major factor for Wenger in the foreseeable future. But, by the time January comes along, the Frenchman has a decision to make, a tough one at that, as to how he juggles around with the plethora of wingers and attacking midfielders his squad possesses. And, given Ozil’s ineptitude to affect the game positively for Arsenal from the flanks, I’d be inclined to offload the German, and use the reasonably hefty income from Ozil’s sale to fund another marquee signing, who can replace both Arteta and Flamini as Arsenal’s defensive midfielder.