Former Arsenal man Alan Smith delivers verdict on Sokratis and Mesut Ozil

Sam Preston January 22, 2021
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Alan Smith has had his say on Sokratis and Mesut Ozil, who have no future at Arsenal.

In the Evening Standard, Smith was gleeful about the prospect of Ozil leaving, with his move to Fenerbahce nearly complete and awaiting confirmation.

He was more circumspect in his analysis of Sokratis’s Arsenal spell, after his release earlier this week.

Smith also laid out a roadmap of how he wants his old club to go forward, building on youth.

Very slowly but surely, Mikel Arteta is sorting the wheat from the chaff. He’s moulding the Arsenal squad into something that appeals a little more than it did,” wrote Smith.

“So, farewell Mesut Ozil (let’s say Amen to that!) and also Sokratis, a whole-hearted defender who gave his all. Time to look ahead, to try to turn the season into something more respectable.

“That means all the kids continuing their exciting progress and senior stars such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thomas Partey leading by example.

“Another great cup run, of course, wouldn’t hurt at all. The Gunners don’t want to let go of this trophy without a fight. And it might be a fight on the South Coast. Southampton on form are one heck of a side.”

Smith is quite mild-mannered in his punditry but his column generally pulls no punches.

It hands an insight into how much the Ozil saga has dragged on and what he feels about his attitude compared to Sokratis.

The Ozil issue is close to being resolved and Arteta will likely be relieved about that, allowing him to look to the future.

Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.