Arsenal news: Mesut Ozil ordered to lead Gunners back to Champions League after new deal

MESUT OZIL has been told to go out and earn his money by leading Arsenal back into contention for the Champions League.


Posted Saturday, February 03, 2018 by Express.co.uk

Tying up the Germany international was like making an extra signing for Arsene Wenger last month when Ozil finally agreed to extend his contract in return for a pay hike up to £350,000-a-week.

But Wenger has warned the star that it comes with a far greater responsibility to drive the team forwards on a more consistent basis than the occasional – and therefore frustrating – masterclass.

"He has committed his future to the club in a period where we are in a tricky position on that front, in qualifying for the Champions League,” he said. “You expect that he becomes the leader and takes the responsibility to lead the team to success. He will be the technical leader of the team.”

Wenger admits that no amount of money will make Ozil roll up his sleeves and get stuck in like a traditional leader in English football.

"That’s why I say the technical leader,” Wenger clarified. “Physically he is much stronger than people think. His distances are quite good. He can run. He is not a tackler. When he is angry he can.”

Nor is Ozil a player who Wenger says he can build an entire team around. Instead, following the arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, he expects one to evolve around him.

"A team goes naturally through its strong points,” he said. “You cannot artificially create that. A team has its own subconscious intelligence and goes through the way, chooses a way in the game, which is most efficient.

"Normally, when you say ‘build a team around that’, I do not decide that, it’s the team who decide that on the pitch. Mesut is naturally a focal point because they give him naturally the ball.”

Certainly, the usually frugal Wenger is not going to admit that any of the Arsenal coffers have been wasted in keeping Ozil here beyond the summer. Nor does he think it should have a destabilising influence on the club’s previously rigid pay structure.

Arsenal news: Mesut Ozil ordered to lead Gunners back to Champions League after new deal
Arsenal star Mesut Ozil signed a new contract

"When you let a player go, you have to buy somebody of the same calibre and if you add the transfer needed and compare it to the wages, it will be similar,” he calculated. “So overall, Mesut for us was the cheapest option.

"On the other side, all of our players are well paid – very well paid. To feel sorry for them, I’m not sure that it’s the most objective assessment.”

It is still money that some consider might be better spent on a defender or two, not least after Arsenal’s horrendous 3-0 capitulation in Swansea on Tuesday.

Going into the visit of Everton today, that took the number of goals conceded to 34 in just 25 games. It is the worst ratio Arsenal have suffered in a league campaign for 34 years.

Arsenal news: Mesut Ozil ordered to lead Gunners back to Champions League after new deal
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger expects much more from Mesut Ozil

"Defensive strengthening is a huge problem for everybody,” Wenger said. “Everybody looks for a defenders. You look at Manchester City – they bought again a defender. How much money have they spent on defenders on the last three years?”

To be fair, they have only conceded 18 goals this season as a result – isn’t that the point?

"We have not the financial power of Manchester City and the fact they have conceded half the goals that we have is as well down to the fact that offensively, they are very powerful and have a lot of possession in the opponents’ half that we do not,” Wenger blustered back.

Perhaps Ozil also now has “tracking back” written into his job description as part of the new package.

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