It is not just for Arsenal that this season is important – because they are supposed to make a run for the title. It is equally important for their mercurial German midfielder Mesut Ozil.
The former Real Madrid star has not entirely convinced the fans and the club of his ability to go to the next level. He has wowed the fans initially and there were enough reasons to believe that his transfer is well justified.
Paying over the top was never a norm at the club – especially with the prudent Arsene Wenger hawking every minute detail. But, after a good enough start, Ozil’s form tapered off and the questions started popping up from every quarter.
Last season when he was injured and when Alexis Sanchez was employed in his preferred central role, there were enough indications that the Chilean was more suited to the role. But, Wenger quashed any questions on who would start in that role ahead of this season by saying that Ozil would start in his favorite season.
Ozil scored just five times in 32 appearances for Arsenal last season. The challenge has already been laid in front of Ozil by Wenger who wants his star midfielder to score in double digits. The German playmaker understands that needs to be more ruthless in front of the goal as well as be more ‘egotistical’ to gain personal recognition.
“I have to become more dangerous in front of the goal,” he told reporters.
“I was injured for long spells last season, and scored only five in 32 competitive games. I want to improve this. To achieve it, I have to be a bit more egotistical.”
The need to be selfish stems from the personal ambition of winning the Ballon d’Or – a trophy which has become a personal property of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Ozil realizes that injuries prevented him last season from showing his true skills but want to make the most of his central position this year.
The jury is still out on Ozil. The fans and the club are yet to be convinced of his ability to be their central playmaker. That could just be the motivation Ozil may need to prove everyone wrong and move towards realizing his Ballon d’Or ambition.
But perhaps he should be concentrating more on Arsenal’s targets rather than thinking ofpersonal glory?