Per Mertesacker has played with Mesut Özil for both club and country, so knows exactly the kind of quality he possesses. The German defender believes Özil has really started to show his best form this season, but claims he needs to continue to grow and meet the challenge he’s been set at Arsenal (via Arsenal.com).
Özil didn’t exactly meet expectations when he first arrived at Arsenal, but this season he’s been hugely impressive. His form has been recognised through a nomination for the PFA Player of the Year, and he’s been hugely important to our success this season – even if that success has been limited.
Mertesacker spoke to Arsenal player about how key he’s been this season, and how he can continue to fulfil his potential at the club and grow as a player.
“I felt that when he was fit, he would be at his best – that was my prediction,” Mertesacker told Arsenal Player.
“I hoped that he would stay fit so we would get the best out of him, that was just my simple idea. You could feel he would help us win games.
“He is [progressing], especially in the final third. We try to give him the ball to make the final decision or make the final ball because we know that is where he is at his best.
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“When he fulfils his potential, he has 20-plus assists in him and has even got the ability of scoring 10-plus goals. When he can be difference between 30-plus points, it is vital for the team.
“I think he realises he can now grow here, even in a foreign country.
“I’m convinced he can take this challenge to be at his best and the player we need him to be.”
Many are obviously concerned that our lack of progress and success this season will cause the World Cup winner to consider his options and think about a move away from the Emirates, but Mertesacker seems to think Özil knows there’s potential to improve at Arsenal.
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He’s certainly the player we need, but we also need to add other players of his calibre to our squad. We’re badly lacking in certain areas, and that is something that will hopefully be remedied this summer.
We really have made very little progress over the last few years despite securing the signatures of players like Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez, as it constantly seems to be a case of one step forward two steps back. Hopefully that changes, as Arsenal fans are getting really, really frustrated with Arsene Wenger and the club.