Why Mikel Arteta must look to integrate Mesut Ozil back in the team now that he has signed Thomas Partey
Arsenal left their star midfielder Mesut Ozil out of their 25-man Europa League squad, according the Guardian. The German has been frozen out of the Gunners squad for a long time now and it looks like the £350k-a-week star has played his last game for the club already.
However, Arsenal were finally able to land midfield target Thomas Partey on deadline day by triggering his £45m release clause (source – Sky Sports). Now that Mikel Arteta has a decent stock of midfielders, he can set up the team in the manner he wants and should look to bring back Mesut Ozil back into the fold instead of continuing to keep him out of action.
The 31-year-old midfielder started his youth career at Westfalia 04 Gelsenkirchen in 1995 before moving to Teutonia Schalke-Nord after 3 seasons. He also had spells at Falke Gelsenkirchen and Rot-Weiss Essen.
Finally, he settled at Schalke 04 in 2005. The following season, he was promoted to the senior side. He played 39 games for the side and then moved to Werder Bremen. It was at Werder Bremen that Ozil truly exploded onto the scene. In just over 100 appearances, he scored 16 goals and produced 54 assists.
Naturally, Real Madrid came calling in 2010. He became one of the best playmakers at Madrid with his performances in white. In 159 appearances, he scored 27 goals and laid a mind-boggling 80 assists (source – Transfermarkt).
It was a surprise when Real let him go to Arsenal in 2013. While Ozil did enjoy a good few initial years at Arsenal, his propensity to blank out in important matches drew a lot of criticism. This slowly trickled down to Ozil making fewer and fewer appearances as seasons went by.
He has made over 250 appearances for the club to date. Ozil was an important part of the German national team at his peak. In 98 games for them, he has 23 goals and also won the FIFA World Cup in 2014.
Why Arteta must look to integrate Mesut Ozil back into the team
Ozil is yet to play a minute of football this season. Questions have always been there regarding his defensive contributions to the game. It is always felt that Ozil does not track back when the team needs more men behind the ball.
However, the situation is different now. The club signed Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid (source – Sky Sports). This gives them the defensive cover that they need. Over the last few years, they struggled to find an able defensive midfielder and now that they have one, they can look to bring back Ozil from the cold.
A switch to a traditional 4-2-3-1 formation would allow Ozil to thrive in a No.10 role while not worrying about him tracking back to defend. Partey and Xhaka/Ceballos could be used in a double pivot, which would give the defence ample protection.
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With very few midfielders in the squad, it wouldn’t be an entirely bad idea from Arteta to reintroduce the classy playmaker into the side. He is still just 31 and looks to have some more in the tank.
Instead of wasting such a valuable resource by freezing him out, Arteta would be quite wise to use the chance to get the best out of the German star while he is still there.