Wenger tells Arteta to “build a team around” Ozil

It seems to me that the longer that Mesut Ozil is excluded from the Arsenal team, the more the media talk about the German, especially when our current midfielders are creating hardly any chances for our strikers.

But I was still surprised to hear that Arsene Wenger, who managed Ozil for over 5 years, to join in the debate and actually undermine Arteta’s decision in a way, by telling the Spaniard to “build a team around him.”

“He was not difficult to manage,” Wenger said to ESPN’s Caught Offside podcast. “He was a guy who had a special quality as a creative player and needed to have fun.

“He is an artist and these guys are a bit more sensitive.

“They need support and an environment that pushes them to give their best.”

“You have two ways to see a football team.

“You get everybody to do the same – the same intensity of work, the same defensive work – or you find a compromise.

“You have a more creative player in the team who can do less defensive work but you build a team around him who can compensate for these deficiencies.

“That is what you have to think about.”

So now even Wenger got involved in the debate about Ozil, is he telling Arteta that he needs to fix the problem as soon as possible. It may be a bit late now, considering that we are just a few weeks away from the last transfer window before Ozil’s contract runs out.

Is Wenger a bit late with his advice?

Tags Arteta Ozil Wenger


  1. True, after all Wenger and Ozil were the epl champs, UCL champs, and what not in wonderland. No surprises that Wengers end came in tears. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    1. Yes looks like according to u we r going in the right direction?We will win the league lol?under arsene we were always in champions league!it would be good riddance any opinion fron you Mr

    2. Wenger and Ozil are not rubbish. Outdated and less relevant perhaps, but the fact that they were once great in their respective careers deserves respect.

      While I do not agree with Wenger’s advice, I would refrain from demeaning him

  2. I would say build the team around him ,that will never happen now ,but I would definitely bring him back into the team at the end of jan if our creative woes continue.

  3. Wenger has tried that and we didn’t get any EPL or UCL trophy from collecting fancy CAMs

    Had Arteta wanted to use a fancy CAM, he would’ve assigned Ceballos or Willian as no 10 in 4-2-3-1. Yet he chose to play Ceballos in deep midfield area and Willian on the right wing, so I bet he’d look for a much taller CAM in the summer

    1. Do you throw away your slippers for a shoe you don’t yet have ? Why not use the fanciful Özil until you get your desired tall CAM that you don’t yet have ?

    2. Dear Fans, Arteta just needs to listen, swallow pride and involve Ozil. he has fixed our major problem that we had for years our defensive woes. I support Arteta all the way.

  4. he is right and cant believe what is happening, he never was given that DM he begged for years, we have him in Partey but the urge of saving money has Ozil outcasted of team.

    That is the most ignorant move in football; precisly what team misses all season; Ozil to focus on attacking!

    And if you do play Ozil, you must have players clearing up behind him., he cant do both, creqte assist score, and also defend. Not a B2B.

    Common sense Arteta lacks of beyond not being ready for such a club with zero heas coach experience ever before!

    How can Partey get injured and replaced by Ceballos?

    Shouldnt it be a more defensive player we have in Niles?

    We lose 3-0 and he still cant get it, brings Luiz back as well!

    He is totally lost and getting worst under pressure…

    Job should had never been offered to him, a cheap option to get fans happy and shut up for a while!

    If he didnt lack of brain, he would have not accept it and to feed his ego, now he wont ever go higher but lower, insteqd of other way as every freakin coach did!


    1. When did Wenger ever beg for a DM? He was openly obsessed with having tons of attacking midfielders.

      When we FINALLY spent big on a world class player, it was Ozil, not the DM or CF we needed. Wenger said he wanted Ozil. So that was a Wenger signing. Even more bizarre a signing when we had only signed Santi the year before.

      1. So after the Wenger era, Arsenal threw away the birth water and the baby. Why couldn’t Arteta and emery retain the strong creative midfield culture built over a period and just focus on plugging what Arsenal lacked – DM. They rather chose to let go our B2B Ramsey, and froze out the CAM. Who does that and succeed in football?

  5. I love Arsene wenger to bits, but you see his over pampering comments gives away the problems that have been at Arsenal and are still existing till now. We now have over pampered players that choose when to play and when not to play. This lazy mentality has to change for good. These players get paid very well to perform every week but then they need to be “pampered”? See why I say people like Arsene were part of the problem even though he’s a living legend that has my respect?..

  6. Arsenal lacks creativity… The only creative player in arsenal now is ozil…. If arteta doesn’t want ozil, hw should have tried buying another creative player.. Relying on ceballos, saka and Williams to provide assist is very naive of Arteta……. As bad as ozil is he offers something we lack.. Bring back ozil or get a crwative player.. Simple!

  7. And that’s why we ended up the way we did under Wenger! What’s great is that I always get attacked by the Wenger fan boys for criticizing his delusional decisions, saying I make stuff up, I don’t know what I am talking about or I have an agenda, but this is straight from the horses mouth.

    I rest my case!

    1. Wenger is correct. Without a CAM, your strikers are useless, and without a good DM, your CAM will struggle if they’re not B2B. That was the problem of Özil because he’s not a B2B kind of player. But now that we have Partey, what is Arteta waiting for to unleash Mesut?

      1. So obviously you agree with Wenger that we should build our new team around a player who’s been trash for 4 years, never fully fit, poor attitude and work ethic, hasn’t played a game in 9 months, and who is leaving in around 7 months time.

        I would say that’s about as ridiculous as it gets!

  8. I always liked Ozil as a player but this is not the way to go now. Will he get better and become the player he once was? No way. So suggesting that a team is built around him sounds like sentimental rubbish to me.

    1. So if bringing Ozil back is not an option what is the way to go then? Buy another No 10? If so who can we buy and when. MA said we will buy players when we sell players. That means no transactions in January .
      Also how can we be 100% sure the player we buy will pan out? Pepe and Willian ay one?
      Even if Ozil does not become the player he once was (and that’s an if) he remains our best option for this year.

  9. You can’t build the team around Ozil as clearly some of the Chinese sponsors have told Arsenal to drop him due to his comments. So he won’t be playing for Arsenal again.

    1. So Arsenal should be relegated because Özil offended the Chinese by his comments? What sort of football reasoning is that ?

  10. What AW said here is exactly what i’ve been saying for years, even when AW was still at the club.

    We have a solid foundation for Ozil to be able to play the way he wants and to his strengths with TP and Elneny behind him.

    It’s a real shame that its gone this way and that we all ( lover or haters ) didnt get to see these partnerships and likely never will.

    If he did get put back into the squad and it doesn’t work, we haven’t lost anything either way as right now we’re just a shambles going forward and overload in those areas to try and force it as the Manager and team are now under pressure which we then end up losing our defensive cohesion, which we have seen alot of in the last 5-6 games

  11. I hope we can all move on from the Ozil myth and just concentrate on our team. The guy has had 7 years to prove himself and has been founf wanting 90% of his time here.

    Wenger the guy that bought him failed to make him perform himself. Wenger got the sack because of his poor recruitments including Ozil.

    I keep asking, do people just live in a delusional world or what? Ozil has struggled to make it in the EPL, many managers have tried and failed. I don’t even get this “He is very creative”. When was the last time that Ozil got 10 or more assists in a season for the 7 years he has been here? He only ever got over 10 assists once (2015/16 = 19 assists). But that’s it. All the other seasons he averaged about 8 assists per season. Since he singed his contract he has been struggling to even make 5 assists for each of those season.

    The Ozil project was a failure and the quicker we move on from him the better. Lets concentrate on players that have a future at our club and ignore primadonnas that think the while world revolves around them.

    We should be criticising Arteta and the current team, not ex players. Lets not deflect from the team’s poor results and always smuggle in Ozil. He is done.

    Thank you very much.

    1. No no no no Goonster.He cannot perform because
      He has poor players around him
      The forwards are not world class
      there is no winter break in EPL
      the weather is not that good
      the coaches have no tactics
      he has no right to score, defend or dribble
      And then you have the tea lady, the janitor, the groundsmen are poor
      Finally now Gunnersaures is not there too
      You see it was never his fault.
      Building a team around a failed aging player running down his contract makes no sense to sane people. We do need creativity and a CAM but sorry Ozil never was, is or will be the answer. The reason he got 19 assists was due to Sanchez. Agree that Willian is not the answer to Sanchez.

    2. So how do you expect Özil to provide assist from outside the squad? Is he a magician? Now that we have Partey, why not give him that chance and if he doesn’t perform, you’re free to do away with him. Arsenal are not creating chances at the moment, they are not scoring goals and even the defensive cohesiveness has broken down. So creativity is the only problem Arsenal has at the moment and you want us to move on without addressing it just because you hate Özil? I completely disagree with you my friend.

  12. How can you build a team around a person who’s gonna retire soon? The guy doesn’t have any love for the team that pays him. Wenger want to pull Arteta down even further. This is a pull him down syndrome. The team should be built around Maitland-Niles, Gouendouzi, Martinelli, and Saka

  13. It’s not about building a team around Ozil but it’s about the club/manager giving the player a chance as we all know that it’s not about the performance but something else from the top management

  14. Wenger is late and also wrong with his advice. Changing the subject completely(not), Wenger was sacked over two years ago. I DON’T wonder why!!

  15. I listened to the podcast and it certainly didn’t sound like AW was throwing his 2 pence worth in against Arteta excluding Ozil. It was more neutral than that.

  16. Ozil is a kind of player that arsenal needs especially that they now Thomas. Ozil can than do more creativity since he has the force behind him to create those final passes go the strickers. He is an exceptional player that we shouldn’t under mind.The board should go back to the drawing table and think twice before the make up the decision of letting him leave in January. Thanks

  17. Very mischievous headline. Reading the article, I can’t find any place where Wenger tells MA to do anything.

    He simply says that there are two ways a team could be structured (“You have two ways to see a football team.”).

    He goes ahead to talk about the first option (“You get everybody to do the same – the same intensity of work, the same defensive work – or you find a compromise.”).

    He then goes ahead to talk about the second option (“You have a more creative player in the team who can do less defensive work but you build a team around him who can compensate for these deficiencies.”).

    He then ends by suggesting that a Manager would have to consider those alternatives and make his choice (“That is what you have to think about.”).

    How this can be interpreted as Wenger explicitly telling MA to build his team around Ozil is beyond me.

  18. Now we are 15th and getting hammered by teams able run around all day, and they out do Arsenal in this sort of game.

    I have been asking for 4-2-3-1 for a couple years. Its success is not only an Ozil type player, but DMFs have to be really be able to defend and transition as needed. So Partey works and perhaps Elneny at this point with his range and speed. Have Aube on one wing and Pepe on the other. The problem is at striker, as there is no Giroud type player, but maybe Martinelli.

    Leave Ozil to be up there feeding the fronts three, and goals will come. It also means other teams have to stay back more… I would say top six with that sort of show until Arsenal finds a striker good enough in the air, a form of attack missing in the current Arsenal team.

    Age is a number. Fit players can do this longer, especially those with vision and knowledge of the game.

    Central defense is better now and the the wing back are good enough. We just need to have a team identity that goes back to attack football from the middle as well as either wing, and most important, aerially. At the moment Arsenal is has only attacks from wings… and it is so easy stop those.

  19. I dont think Wenger gave any advice or undermined MA. He was asked his opinion and just gave that. In his opinion there are two types of teams, like the Liverpool of today, netherlands (first part), and the Barcelona of the past, even Real with CR7 at some point(the second part).
    Now what happened to people saying not to take everything said in the media as gospel truth? Selective bias maybe?

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