‘He’s a maestro’: Laurent Koscielny defends Arsenal pariah Mesut Ozil

Max Mathews October 26, 2020
‘He’s a maestro’: Laurent Koscielny defends Arsenal pariah Mesut Ozil
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Former Gunners skipper Laurent Koscielny has waded into the Mesut Ozil saga at Arsenal, passionately defending his former teammate to L’Equipe via Sport Witness.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta left Ozil, who won the 2018 World Cup with Germany, out of his 25-man Premier League and Europa League squads despite the attacking midfielder earning a cool £350,000 a week.

Even though this exclusion means Ozil won’t play competitively until at least January, former Gunners captain Koscielny believes he is “undoubtedly” at the level to play again for Arsenal

And Koscielny, 35, who now captains Ligue 1 side Bordeaux, admitted although former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger “loved him”, the situation was trickier between Ozil and Arteta.

Laurent Koscielny: Mesut Ozil is a ‘phenomenon’

He said: “As a man, he’s a very good person who got along with all his teammates. He gave a lot, helped sick children (and) is a generous person, with whom I got along very well.

“As a player, he is a phenomenon. He can find passes no-one sees. He’s a maestro, he can rock a game with incredible passes. He is undoubtedly at the level demanded by the Premier League.

“We’re both part of the ‘Arsene Wenger generation’. The coach loved him as a player. It was more complicated with Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta. Knowing him, he must always be professional in training, always on time.

“I hope both sides find a deal that works for everyone. I hope to see him back on the pitch soon, at Arsenal or elsewhere, because he is a real talent.”

No way back for Mesut Ozil?

Arsenal looked blunt in attack during their 1-0 home defeat to Leicester on Sunday, with deep or defensively minded central midfielders Thomas Partey, Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka struggling to create.

Ozil, now 32, could have provided a different option off the bench than the more prosaic Mohamed Elneny or the less experienced Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah. However, he’s clearly not in Arteta’s plans.

Fans’ calls for Ozil to return will only get louder if Arsenal continue to struggle for creativity.

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Max Mathews is a Gold Standard NCTJ freelance sports journalist, writer, and broadcaster with experience for Sky Sports, the Times, Telegraph, Mail, and Love Sport Radio.