Ozil has been frozen out under Arteta but Arsenal have lacked creativity in his absence – and Wenger says a different approach is needed to manage the Emirates misfit.
Arsene Wenger has told Mikel Arteta he has managed ‘sensitive’ Mesut Ozil all wrong by freezing him out of the Arsenal team.
Ozil was left out of Arteta’s Premier League and Europa League squads for the first half of the season, meaning he cannot play for the Gunners until next month at the earliest.
By that time the £350,000-per-week midfielder will have entered the final six months of his Arsenal deal, and could sign a pre-contract agreement to join another club on a free transfer.
Arteta has taken a hard line on Ozil, who has been criticised over his lack of work rate.
But Wenger says a more softly-softly approach is needed, with the Gunners sorely lacking creativity in the 32-year-old’s absence having slipped to 15th in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s visit of Burnley.
He insisted Ozil was easy to manage – and advised Arteta that, rather than expect the attacking midfielder to put in the same effort off the ball as other players, he should strike a compromise in order to get the best out of his flair and creativity.
“He was not difficult to manage. He was a guy who had a special quality as a creative player and needed to have fun,” Wenger said to ESPN’s Caught Offside podcast.
“They need support and an environment that pushes them to give their best.”
Wenger added: “You have two ways to see a football team.
“You get everybody to do the same – the same intensity of work, the same defensive work – or you find a compromise.
“You have a more creative player in the team who can do less defensive work but you build a team around him who can compensate for these deficiencies.
“That is what you have to think about.”
Of course, an alternative option is that Arsenal could try to cash in on Ozil in the January transfer window before his contract expires in the summer.
Ozil has been linked with teams in Turkey, where he has family connections, as well as a move to Major League Soccer in the US.
Source – Daily Star