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Four years and £74m later - has the Ozil & Arsenal relationship been a success?

“I always want to control the game, give assists and help my team”, Ozil told Goal. “It was like that with me from the start.

Four years and £74m later - has the Ozil & Arsenal relationship been a success?

“I always want to control the game, give assists and help my team”, Ozil told Goal. “It was like that with me from the start.

14 October 2017 Saturday 14:47
Four years and £74m later - has the Ozil & Arsenal relationship been a success?

The much maligned and misunderstood No.10 celebrates his birthday this weekend but how much of an impact has he made in north London?

Everyone has an opinion on Mesut Ozil. Some adore his laid-back style and nonchalant approach to the game, while others lambast his languid body language when things aren’t going well.

Whatever your view, there can be no argument that the German has got people talking since joining Arsenal from Real Madrid for a then-club record fee of £42.5 million in late 2013.

Ozil sauntered through the Emirates Stadium doors with weighty expectations on his shoulders but immediately delivered on his debut, with a sumptuous assist for Olivier Giroud in an away game against Sunderland.

From showing his talents in the north east of England to dominating defences in north London, the 28-year-old quickly justified his reputation as the assist king of Europe due to his ability to pick out a killer pass, whatever the occasion, whomever the opposition.

Ozil sauntered through the Emirates Stadium doors with weighty expectations on his shoulders but immediately delivered on his debut, with a sumptuous assist for Olivier Giroud in an away game against Sunderland.

From showing his talents in the north east of England to dominating defences in north London, the 28-year-old quickly justified his reputation as the assist king of Europe due to his ability to pick out a killer pass, whatever the occasion, whomever the opposition.

The Germany international, who spoke to Goal about a range of topics including his playing style back in May, celebrates his 29th birthday on Sunday and appears to have approached a crossroads in his career, with an expiring contract in the summer of 2018.

As Goal revealed last week, Arsenal have yet to put a formal proposal to Ozildespite a series of talks throughout last season that were eventually broken off due to the uncertainty over manager Arsene Wenger’s future.

With negotiations now resumed, there is a feeling that Ozil could still commit to the club despite interest from several elite European sides - but, for most people, it is not a question of if or when he will sign a new deal, but whether he is worth one.

Looking at the stats from the past four years, Ozil is second only to Philippe Coutinho in terms of minutes per chance created (24.5 mins), while he has the most chances created, most successful crosses and most assists in the league since 2013/14.

However, while Ozil’s numbers have always been impressive, ex-players and pundits continue to use his body language as a stick with which to beat him.

Indeed, the man himself admitted a couple of seasons ago that he needs to improve that aspect of his playing style – before then explaining to Goal in May that people need to accept who he is and he won’t change for anyone.

Perhaps there was a moment of enlightenment and acceptance that Ozil doesn’t need to alter his game for anyone, given it has worked well for him in his career so far.

“I always want to control the game, give assists and help my team”, Ozil told Goal. “It was like that with me from the start.

"In my position you have many possibilities playing forward: You can demand the balls, make telling passes or score yourself. I feel the most comfortable playing as a No.10 because I’ve done it since I was young.

“Of course, that makes me proud and it is an honour [to be compared with Dennis Bergkamp]. He is a living legend at Arsenal and he was an amazing football player. But I do not want to compare myself with anybody.

"I have my own style and I’ve had it since I was a kid. I am proud of these comparisons, but I am Mesut Ozil.”

Goal.com

GOAL

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