There is room to fit Mesut Ozil into the Arsenal side when they need to ‘unlock defences’, claims Mikel Arteta’s former assistant Freddie Ljungberg… as £350,000-a-week star remains frozen out
- Freddie Ljungberg insists there is still space for Mesut Ozil in the Arsenal side
- Ozil hasn’t played since March and has been frozen out under Mikel Arteta
- Ljungberg feels Ozil can make an impact against teams with a defensive mindset
Former Arsenal assistant manager Freddie Ljungberg has claimed that there is still room for Mesut Ozil in Mikel Arteta’s side.
Ozil hasn’t played a competitive game for Arsenal since March and has been left out of the club’s Premier League and Europa League squads for the first half of the season after falling out of favour under Arteta.
Ljungberg, however, believes that Ozil can still be of use to Arsenal in particular games, such as when they need to break down a defensive-minded side.
Freddie Ljungberg believes that there is still room for midfielder Mesut Ozil in the Arsenal side
Ljungberg told The Athletic: ‘Mesut is a great football player, we know that,’
‘We all have different opinions and everybody needs to accept that people have different opinions.
‘What I tried to do, what I believed in, was that when you play teams who, on paper, you’re a bigger club than or you think they’ll have a low block and you need someone to unlock it, Mesut has the total quality to do that. I think there is a space for a player like that in those kind of games.’
Ljungberg believes that Ozil can make an impact for Arsenal against defensive-minded teams
Ljungberg acknowledges that Ozil may not always contribute sufficiently defensively, but added that those deficiencies are outweighed by his contribution in an attacking sense.
Last season Ljungberg took temporary charge of Arsenal after Unai Emery was sacked and the former Sweden international stressed that Ozil is capable of making an impact in particular games.
He said: ‘When I was interim coach, I would play him in the games when I thought he could unlock defences, even if I knew his defensive job was not as good as some other players. So that’s my opinion; there should be a space in certain games.’
Ozil has been frozen out under Mikel Arteta and hasn’t played a competitive game since March
Ozil, who earns £350,000-a-week, sees his contract expires at the end of June next year and it is possible that he may have already played his last game for Arsenal, although there is an opportunity for him to be registered for the Premier League and the Europa League after the January transfer window.
Arsenal have often lacked creativity in their league games this season and have scored just nine times, which has led to calls from some supporters for Ozil to return to the side.
With Ozil out of the side Arsenal have often played without an attacking midfielder, although Joe Willock was deployed in that position during the draw against Leeds last weekend.