Get up to date on Arsenal transfer news, injury updates, fixtures, not restricting reports on Arsenal Ladies and share your opinions on Goonerhead
Mesut Ozil was responsible for making Alexis Sanchez a crowd favourite at Arsenal, according to Paul Merson. Sanchez ditched the Gunners back in January in favour of a move to Manchester United in a deal which saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move in the opposite direction. The Chile international was a firm favourite with Gunners fans on account of his enthusiasm and tenacity as much as his fancy footwork and goalscoring prowess. As a result, former Arsenal star Merson believes Ozil has been harshly treated amid misconceptions surrounding the German’s perceived lack of work rate. ‘He [Ozil] isn’t going to run around like Sanchez did for Arsenal when he gives the ball away and chases 50 yards back,’ Merson said on TalkSPORT.
‘In a way he made Sanchez a better player. The fans loved Sanchez because he would lose the ball but run 30 yards back and tackle. The fans were saying why doesn’t Ozil do that? ‘But Ozil doesn’t do that because he doesn’t give the ball away as many times.’ Arsene Wenger’s successor Unai Emery has demanded more from Ozi when his team is not in possession and insists the 29-year-old will have to get used to performing a number of different roles in his new-look side. Whatever formation or system the Spaniard decides upon, Merson feels it is imperative he finds room for Arsenal’s top earner. ‘At £350,000 a week you have to make a space,’ he added.
‘It’s a hard one. If I was manager I’d want him in the team but then you’d be watching the game thinking what did I pick him for today? ‘Some people love him, some people don’t like him. I think he’s top player. ‘For me, you always play your best players, so he should be playing in that team.’