There are two sides to the Mesut Ozil debate.
Everyone that is a regular to this site knows full well my feelings about Mesut Ozil and his worth to Arsenal. There is absolutely no need for me to repeat my personal view in this particular article.
However, I acknowledge that Ozil has his supporters and in their quest to see some balance from me with regards to the German playmaker I have decided to pen this article following discussions with friends of mine that feel he is both misunderstood and unappreciated.
Now, none of what is expressed here is my own opinion, I actually disagree with most of it fundamentally but like I say, this is for balance
Naturally, the first question I asked my friends was his high wage and whether it is justified.
The simple answer from them was yes, he is worth every single penny. They point to his worth to the club from merchandising but not just that, he is the main focus when the club do tours, that his image is used when Premier League rights are sold along with other “names”, Salah, Aguerro, Pogba, Kane etc.
His wage, over and above the clubs average, is far less than what the club earns from having a marquee player on their books.
Secondly, I pointed out his efforts on the field, slow walk-offs when subbed, his perceived laziness and so on. The response I received in the main was that he has always been like that, he was like that for Germany and Real Madrid, it is his style and the reason that he plays the way that he does.
The reasoning goes that he looks lazy when he plays and his walk-offs are part and parcel of his style, he is a laid back character that does nothing like a headless chicken, one comes with the other. They also point to the amount of ground he covers and that the stats apparently back that up. I have not checked it out but I have no reason to feel my friends are lying to me.
They do acknowledge that his assists and goals have dropped off dramatically but in their opinion that would have happened to any number ten in this Arsenal team over the last few years. They claim that Christian Eriksen would have struggled just as much in an underperforming team. In better words, Ozil needs his teammates to be on his wavelength to get the best from him, that the quality around him has contributed significantly to the drop in his on-field contribution.
I asked about the perception that he simply does not care and they actually took offence to that, they countered that if he did not care he would not be so influential behind the scenes, they claim he has a huge effect on the youngsters and they pointed to the recent comments from Joe Willock as proof of that.
They also said that if it was the case that he did not care then why has Mikel Arteta continued to pick him since he took over. I obviously pointed to the fact that Unai Emery and Freddie Ljungberg had enough of him and ostracised him. The counter to that was that without him the results got worse and that Ozil cannot be blamed for the poor tactics and management of Emery in particular and that Ozil is used as a scapegoat because he is an easy target.
The conclusion I got was that if Ozil is utilised in the right manner that Arsenal would benefit massively and that Arsenal fans would get to see the true Ozil and what he can really bring to the club.
So, there you have it, some balance. Now, I will make it clear, I wholeheartedly disagree with their opinions and none of this article should be taken as a representation of my own personal views but that is not the focus of this article. The focus was purely to present an alternative viewpoint from Ozil supporters.
I would have preferred not to have had to write this, however, while we do receive guest articles every single day there are none in support of Ozil. So, I had little choice but to pen this in an attempt at bringing a little balance.