Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta backed for Mesut Ozil January u-turn because of one Gunners star

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta could well change his mind on Mesut Ozil’s exile because of Thomas Partey, reckons legendary former Gunners captain Tony Adams. Ozil cannot play again until February after being left out of the club’s 25-man Premier League and Europa League squads.

After learning of his omissions, Ozil criticised Arteta in a public statement that declared that he has not been given a fair chance with the manager responding by admitting that he “failed” the player.

Arteta added: “What I can tell you that I tried my best, I tried to give him as many opportunities as I could. And that from my own side, I’ve been patient, given him opportunities and been fair.”

But Adams is keen for the Spanish coach switch up his approach once he can register Ozil in Arsenal’s squad after the January window closes.

Teams can then resubmit their squads for the league and in Europe and the former centre-back is keen for the north London club to inject some much-lacking creativity into the team by bringing Ozil back in from the cold.

Arsenal have scored just nine times in eight games this season and only six times in their seven matches since beating Fulham 3-0 on the opening weekend.

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And Adams would love to see Ozil deployed in the No 10 role behind Aubameyang because he thinks summer signing Partey can provide the defensive protection that would allow German playmaker to strut his stuff offensively without having to overly worry about helping out on the other side of the ball.

As it stands, Ozil is out of contract in the summer of 2021 and will depart the Emirates on a free transfer after what will have been eight years of service.

“You’ve got a fantastic screen there now,” Adams told Sky Sports while hailing Partey. “Creativity is not maybe Partey’s game but what you have got is presence, you’ve got a leader.

“I thought his performance against Manchester United was phenomenal. For me he was the best player on the pitch.

“He got around the pitch, he covered, he doubled up on the defending, he kept the lines very narrow, all the defending principles of a holding midfield player were excellently done by this guy. I was really excited.

“Watching that game I felt for the first time in a long time I went, ‘wow, hallelujah’. The same I felt about Gabriel with [Rob] Holding, it’s got the potential to be one of the best partnerships in the league.

“I think they’ve got the athleticism, the strength, the commitment, they just need to be worked with on a regular basis.

“Ozil, for me, is one of the best creative players in the world. What he struggles with at times is the defensive side of the game.

“To win the league, you need great players. The Dennis Bergkamps. I asked Dennis now and again to get back in and get back behind the ball and do a little bit for us and make it a little bit difficult for them.

“That’s all that Ozil needs to do but when you’re putting him on the sides and asking him to go with runners, he’s not got that.

“What he has got, if he played in this team, is someone like Partey who goes, ‘Here you go, here he comes, cover that one.’ At times Dennis let people go and Patrick [Vieira] slid over or Manu Petit, these people that were unrecognised, great leaders and great team players.


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“Petit, we don’t even speak about him now. Partey’s like that, when you’ve got players like that… I’ve always said Ozil is the cherry on the cake without the cake.

“We didn’t have a cake for so many years but now we’re getting some players into the team and there’s some stability there.

“He needs to work on a back four, he needs to work on his full-backs and get Hector more defensively inclined, work with him, and then there are signs where you could get the cherry on and let him pull the strings for Aubameyang down the middle.

“I don’t think that the other guys are working at the moment and I think he could feed like Dennis fed Thierry Henry, I think there’s loads of similarities there and as a coach I’d love to see that.

“Whether you play it in the Europa League to practice it, I’d love to see Ozil in behind feeding Aubameyang all day long.”

Former Arsenal boss George Graham, by contrast, wants to see the World Cup winner sold in the upcoming January transfer window.

He said to talkSPORT of Ozil: “The first thing you say is, ‘who is the person who sorted the contract?’ Did the rest of the board see that contract and agree to it? That was a bad decision.

“We’ve got to try and get rid of him and pay half his wages if he goes to another club, but even then it’s too expensive.

“He’s got to be in a team that’s dominating games and he’s got to be on the ball as much as possible.

“Without the ball… just no. He is definitely lacking, not even at the top level. Without the ball he’s not good enough. With the ball he can be good enough, but he has to be in a good team.

“He was up and down like a yo-yo under Arsene Wenger. He obviously isn’t playing into the new manager’s style.

“You play when you’ve got the ball but you also play when you haven’t got possession. He’s just not up to the standard that Arteta wants.”

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