Mesut Ozil’s time at Arsenal “could have been so much more”, admits Gunners legend Michael Thomas, with a World Cup winner edging towards the exits after failing to live up to expectations. There have been plenty of highs for the German playmaker across seven years in north London, including three FA Cup triumphs, but there have been as many lows. Ozil has struggled to become the talismanic figure he was supposed to be when snapped up from Real Madrid by Arsene Wenger in the summer of 2013.
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With questions having been asked of his form and attitude across 254 appearances for Arsenal, a long-running transfer saga appears to be coming to a close. Interest is being shown in Ozil during the January window, as he remains frozen out at Emirates Stadium under Mikel Arteta, while free-agency will be hit at the end of the season if no deal is done now.
Thomas is among those wondering what could have been for the former Germany international, telling CaughtOffside of a divisive performer: “Amazing vision and quality but not enough consistency to go with these attributes. “His partnership with [Alexis] Sanchez could have been so much more, but blossomed at times.”
With Ozil out of the picture, Arsenal is having to find creativity from alternative sources – with promising academy graduates stepping up in an hour of need. Thomas added: “It is great what Emile Smith Rowe is doing. “He’s a player who doesn’t show fear and knows the quality he can bring to the team, whilst showing the work ethic and willingness to keep improving we need at Arsenal.
“I still think they need another player in the creative mold with real quality as it’s always dangerous to rely on just one.” Arsenal is said to be in the hunt for another playmaker, with Arteta in the market for an option that can provide ammunition for frontmen Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette – who have looked a little out of sorts at times this season.
“The calls for Aubameyang to play through the middle I thought were wrong. In some games where the lines are high and you can play the ball in behind it supports that argument, but generally he plays better being able to face the goal and of his friend in Lacazette. “I think another goal midweek will help him to grow the confidence back further.”