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Özil Fighting For Redemption But Is It Possible Anymore ?

Ozil and Kolasinac, Ozil

As a world class player, especially Mesut Ozil, everything is onboard the gravy train once it arrives. When you’ve hit the heights, its easy to get carried away and believe that it’s an endless tidal wave of trophies, success and adulation. It isn’t.

The glamour, houses, holidays, luxury cars and the expensive suits are no substitute for playing football if you have the talent and as sudden as the ascent occurs, the decent is just as quick.

Mesut Ozil is at a stage in his career that could be perceived as ‘shit or bust’. It’s common knowledge that Arsenal wanted to sell him but the sad truth is that there were no offers forthcoming.

A few years ago, the good and the great would have been lining up for his services but Ozil’s career has gone into something of a state of limbo, no longer on the international stage and un fancied by his and coach, it’s now assumed a Shakespearean quality. Perhaps Ozil is Falstaff, in the sense of his laziness and ability to remain popular despite all his shortcomings.

Fenerbache were reported to be the only club that was interested but it was more of a pipe dream and a marketing exercise designed to sell a few shirts and raise the club’s profile. They couldn’t even raise the money by approaching an assortment of sponsors , leaving Ozil in the lurch, facing the reality that he could spend the remaining part of his contract as a substitute or occasional starter.

When his international career came to an end, I thought it would be a game changer for Arsenal, one that would get the best of him. I was wrong, not just a little bit but massively wrong.

Ozil, for some reason, turned off the class button, became anonymous and only worked when he had to. That didn’t suit Unai Emery, who is like a old fashioned army sergeant who demands his troops work together until they drop.

Emery doesn’t like stars unless he makes them. Stars are a distraction from the team spirit that he works hard to establish. Going against this ethos means that he pushes twice as hard against those that push against him. At PSG, the club supported Neymar and not the coach, at Arsenal, it’s the other way around.

It appears that Ozil has suddenly woken up to the fact that, yes he has the life of a successful footballer but he has massively underachieved at the age of 30. The German playmaker can see the end of his career in his rear view mirror, so Ozil needs to hit the gas.

With a new hairdo comes a new desire or so it seems. On the pre season tour of the US, Ozil broke into a sweat but he also put a foot in and tried his hand at tracking back. Perhaps it’s a blonde imposter or an Arsenal supporting Doppelgänger, who doesn’t understand that Ozil only contributes in attack, rarely in his own half.

Press reports of a chummy union between Emery and his highly paid midfielder are premature. The hatchet hasn’t entirely been buried even though the Sun ran with the curiously entitled article ‘Arsenal star Ozil is Unai Emery’s golden boy’  which seemed to suggest that the pair were now immersed in a love in and that all was forgiven.

Emery’s language showed no change of attitude towards the player and was similar to that employed by the Spanish coach just before he benched the German.

“I spoke with Mesut at the beginning of pre-season and wanted to get his best performances. He is working really well, so I am positive”

Ozil replied by saying,

“I have a really good relationship with the coach, so we are speaking a lot and he wants to help me and I want to help the team”

It all sounds rather positive but we’ve heard it all before. “Ozil is working hard, Emery is a good coach blah, blah, blah”. None of the recent comments can disguise the fact that there has been significant friction between the two and that while it may be suppressed because of circumstances for now, it could explode at any point.

It’s an odd relationship where each depends on the other because there appears to be no other choice. Emery is stuck with the player that he’d rather sell on but he depends on what creativity the player has to offer. Ozil has no suitors and wants to play football and needs to show something to his coach to justify his position in the team.

Some are going as far as to claim that Ozil will triumph over his own personal adversity in the season ahead but unless he shows intensity and desire, it will end the same way.

The big question is does Ozil has anything left to give and can he sustain the same levels of commitment that he’s shown on the tour of the US so far ?

The Highbury Flyer
Anti Kroenke , anti Gazidis but always a gooner. Still wishes he could watch from the stands at the Highbury library.

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