The stats don’t lie: Mesut Ozil’s Arsenal career could do with some picking up. With just three assists to his name during the last campaign, Ozil’s worth at the Emirates Stadium has diminished despite signing an eye-watering £350,000-a-week contract in the not-too-distant past.
For a player who has previously posted totals of over 20 assists numerous times during his career, his measly 2018/19 return is hardly able to give his bumper deal much justification.
However, he may have been offered an opportunity of redemption by the departure of former teammate Aaron Ramsey to Juventus, which leaves less competition in his wake for a berth in the No10 role at Arsenal.
With Henrikh Mkhitaryan now his only remaining attacking-midfield counterpart at the club, Ozil could be in line for a more prominent role in Unai Emery’s plans next season if no direct Ramsey replacement is sourced in this summer’s transfer market.
Arsenal’s reported lack of funds and current transfer activity concerning other areas of the pitch may encourage any hopes for Ozil to surpass just the 20 Premier League starts he was afforded by Emery last season.
That total can surely not be befitting of a man previously famed for his ability to assist teammates on a level above each and every one of his Premier League colleagues.
Given the German still clocked up 35 appearances in all competitions last term, it would seem it won’t merely be a case of reinstalling the World Cup winner to the starting XI on a regular basis to return Ozil to his best.
But given his history, the secret to his chunkier assist totals potentially lies in the teammates he is partnered with to supply goalscoring chances to – although it remains a mystery why or how Ozil was not able to produce even double-figures alongside the 31-goal Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with that in mind.
Though when it came to creating chances for the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Alexis Sanchez – who were present during Ozil’s most potent seasons – the stats would suggest finding the perfect accomplice for the midfielder to provide ammunition for is the key to getting the bigger numbers out of the German.
So should Emery opt to use Arsenal’s funds for another attacking outlet – be it Wilfried Zaha or otherwise – rebuilding the Gunners attack with Ozil at the forefront of his plans could be the answer to setting him on the way to paying off his jaw-dropping wages – and reviving what is a fading Arsenal career.