Arsenal confirmed midfielder Mesut Ozil will wear the No.10 shirt next season after its previous owner Jack Wilshere left the club to join West Ham United on a free transfer this summer. It’s a number Ozil has worn at Real Madrid and with Germany and is something he cherishes as a playmaker, but does he deserve it?
He said: “It has never been a secret how special this number is to me. My childhood idol Zinedine Zidane wore this number and it is still the most characteristic one for the playmaker position. I’m looking forward to putting it on for the first time at Arsenal after the summer break.”
Ozil joined the Gunners from Real in 2013 and has gone on to make 196 appearances in all competitions, scoring and creating 108 goals. The 29-year-old has won three FA Cups in his five years at the Emirates and will play under a new manager in Unai Emery this season after Arsene Wenger stepped down.
The German international divides supporters due to his consistency. Some believe he has too many bad games in a season to be relied upon, while others place the blame on his teammates. Ozil has a languid style and seldom expends his energy by harrying players on the pitch. His job is to create chances rather than defend, but the midfielder gets used as a scapegoat for a lot of defeats.
Last season, Arsenal finished sixth in the Premier League table with 63 points from 38 games, having lost 13 matches and conceded 51 goals. Ozil didn’t have his best season, but he did provide many moments of quality. His form seemed to dip after he agreed a new long-term deal with the Gunners in February.
Fans are right to ask more from Ozil given the lucrative contract he requested in order to stay last season, but 2018/19 will be make or break in the eyes of many supporters. The 29-year-old underperformed with Germany at the World Cup in Russia and came off the back of inconsistency with Arsenal in 2018.
Despite an impressive 108 goals in 196 games since joining the Gunners, he does have a lot to prove post-Wenger. Few would doubt he’s a better player than Wilshere and more deserving of the No.10, but fans could count the games on their hand when Ozil has dragged the side to a positive result. He seems to play well when the entire side does and struggles otherwise.
With such an array of attacking talent, Ozil should be in his element. However, the German playmaker actually has a player who could replace him – Henrikh Mkhitaryan – if he struggles to make an impact. Time will tell.