How do you solve a problem like Mesut? That will be the question on the mind of Unai Emery with the midfielder seemingly happy at The Emirates despite a second trophyless season in succession and a rather diminished role in the starting XI during the new boss’ first campaign.
Then again, so would you be if you were picking up £350,000 a week, right?
The problem with Ozil is that his gargantuan wages suggest a certain contribution would be expected in return. However, the chances of that contribution being six goals and three assists for a player of his supposed quality are surely minimal.
Okay, so Arsenal have never been blessed with as prolific an attacker as Cristiano Ronaldo, but after reaching double figures in assists in four of his first five Gunners seasons, last year’s dip (having signed his new bumper deal in January 2018) was characteristic of a man bereft of the motivation required to perform at the top level now that his bank balance has been given an almighty boost.
Whether or not he has been harshly treated by Emery during the Spaniard’s first year in charge, Ozil nevertheless finds himself in a position where his first-team place may not be assured as his relationship with his manager remains unclear.
That’s also despite his enduring ability to produce high-class performances amid a run of uninspiring form that has left his more impressive showings all too rare.
His man-of-the-match showing against Leicester City last year seems so long ago not only because October is almost three months away, but he has never really hit those heights since.
You’d imagine that given his miserly contribution as scorer and provider in front of goal last season, an on-song Ozil would have made the difference in Arsenal’s bid to qualify for the Champions League.
And on those wages, there should be no complaints from the man himself. As refreshing as it is to see a player outline their desire to stay and fight for the cause, for a man to pick up enormous payslips week after week and deliver as little as he has to that end is borderline sickening.
So with his performances in need of a brush-up, Ozil has a lot more convincing to do in order to justify his mammoth salary with last season in mind. Next season will leave no more excuses having spent a year under the Emery regime, and the next 12 months may well determine whether Mesut Ozil is all about the money.