Former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas believes Mesut Ozil is underperforming because of the drop in “quality” from Real Madrid.
Ozil joined the Gunners from Los Blancos in 2013 for a fee of £42.5m but has failed to replicate his Bernabeu form in recent times.
What has happened to Ozil? Five key things to know…
- A World Cup and La Liga winner, Ozil has struggled for consistency at the Emirates in recent seasons.
- He was left out of key matches last season and started just 20 Premier League matches.
- When he first arrived in north London he was a game-changer and performed exceptionally well alongside Alexis Sanchez.
- However, in 2018/19 he failed to convince Unai Emery at stages of the season.
- Fabregas believes a drop in quality from Real Madrid to Arsenal is reason for the German’s underwhelming performances.
The former Germany international was one of the key players as Real won the La Liga title under Jose Mourinho in 2012, earning himself a place on the Ballon d’Or shortlist as a result.
Fast forward seven years and Ozil looks a shadow of that majestic playmaker now, coming off for Joseph Willock in the 78th minute during Arsenal’s 4-1 capitulation against Chelsea in the Europa League final.
After the match in Baku, Fabregas suggested that by dropping a level in quality from Real to Arsenal, Ozil has had to up his game, but added that he doesn’t believe the 30-year-old has the leadership qualities to make that transition.
He told BT Sport: “I think sometimes you just have it inside or you don’t have it.
“When he was at Real Madrid he was surrounded by top, top players and one of the best players in the history of the sport in Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I’m not taking anything away from Mesut, he played top football there, but once you step down a little bit, because we can all agree Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich they are top three, you have to show yourself a little bit more because you don’t have the same quality around you.
“The club buys you to be the actual leader around the club.
“I don’t think Mesut has that in him to carry. I don’t train with him every day, but I don’t think he has it in him to be leader.”
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Emery – “some players need to leave”
Speaking after his maiden campaign in the Arsenal dugout ended in defeat, Emery had some choice words for a few of his players, suggesting the club may need to trim back its squad in order to pave the way for summer additions.
He said: “Our idea is to continue to carry on and improve with the young players that have arrived.
“Maybe some players need to leave but it’s not the moment to speak about that.”
The Spaniard went on to add that missing out on Champions League football could hinder Arsenal’s status in the transfer market, but was hopeful the reputation of the club would still be a huge selling point for targets.
When quizzed on whether missing out on the Champions League will impact the club’s summer transfer plans, Emery added: “Maybe. But we are a big team and Arsenal is a big name in the football world and a lot of players want to play here.”