‘Ozil one of the worst players in the world without the ball!’ – Merson hammers ‘disinterested’ Arsenal star
Mesut Ozil is one of the worst players in the world without the ball, according to Paul Merson, who has slammed the Arsenal star for his “disinterested” demeanour on the pitch.
Ozil has been absent from three of Mikel Arteta’s last four matchday squads since the Premier League restart on June 17.
The 31-year-old hasn’t seen a single minute of action during that period despite Arsenal’s struggles for creativity in the final third, but he continues to pocket £350,000 per week as the club’s highest earner.
Arteta has hinted that Ozil’s absence is down to his fitness levels, despite the fact that the German’s commitment to the club’s cause continues to be called into question.
He is contracted to remain at Emirates Stadium until next summer, and Merson doesn’t think Arsenal will be able to offload a divisive figure before his current deal expires.
The former Gunners midfielder says Ozil is guilty of going through the motions while picking up his lucrative pay packet, and cannot see how he fits into Arteta’s plans going forward.
Merson told Sky Sports: “I think Ozil is a prime example of a player who has to play in a proper team, that is going to be right up there, dominating football matches. He’s got to play in a majorly successful team.
“He can’t play in this Arsenal team, here’s why: he’s not going to change his game now in his 30s, and Arsenal aren’t going to change their game for him.
“He isn’t tracking back, chasing players, and you need him in a team where you’re getting 70 per cent of the ball each week, and he’ll play. You get players around him, let him play.
“We all know how Ozil plays, you give him the ball and he’ll find you. If you don’t have the ball, he won’t win it back for you for love nor money. He’s not interested when they don’t have the ball. How can you give someone £350k-a-week when we all knew that was his style of play?
“If he hasn’t got the ball he’s one of the worst players in the world! I would say that. Name me a worse player in the world when their team doesn’t have the ball? I’ve never seen somebody so disinterested when they don’t have the ball, but he hurts you at the other end!
“Can Arsenal form a team around him? At the moment, it’s at the stage where you can’t do that. They’re not going to change the team for him. He’ll pick up his £350,000-a-week and everything is rosy for him.
“They have to come to a deal with him; maybe he’ll take £200k a week somewhere else. I don’t know how this gets resolved though. Does he want to play football? If he loves football, he has to come to a deal with Arsenal, but it’s easy to say that.
“Nobody wants to lose £150k a week, no matter how much you earn! Who is mad enough to throw that money away, no matter who you are?”