A new era has dawned for Arsenal following the appointment of Unai Emery as the club’s new manager, replacing long-serving boss Arsene Wenger, and the Spaniard inherits a side with a number of issues to resolve.
Major moves have been completed on the transfer market in an attempt to bolster the squad’s competitiveness, with the Gunners signing the likes of Lucas Torreira and Bernd Leno, but their biggest issue could come from a fan favourite.
Mesut Ozil announced on Twitter he is quitting international duty with Germany after being made the scapegoat for his nation’s disastrous World Cup in Russia, where he accused a number of senior officials and sections of the media of racism.
The fall-out from Germany’s failures this summer, which was a huge upset on sports-bonuscode.co.uk, has orientated heavily around Ozil, who was criticised for a photo taken alongside controversial Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the 29-year-old’s German-Turkish heritage has been the topic of discussion.
Ozil, usually relatively shy and keeping to himself, named and shamed a number of figures for their response to the incidents of recent months and will likely be targeted for the coming months, particularly if his performances for Arsenal are poor, which is why he requires support from the club.
Entering his fifth year at the Emirates Stadium, Ozil signed a lucrative new contract in January to quell any speculation about his future – providing a huge boost following the departure of Alexis Sanchez the same month, just months before his contract expired.
Handed the number 10 jersey by the Gunners this summer following Jack Wilshere’s exit, Ozil will be a key-part of Emery’s new-look Arsenal side but will be expected to perform after periods of intense inconsistency during his spell in north London so far.
Whilst pundits and rival fans often call out Ozil for his performances, accusing him of being lazy, the majority of Arsenal fans are supportive of the former Real Madrid man – and the responses to his lengthy social media post announcing his decision to quit international football earned plenty of positive responses from the fans.
It is clear that Ozil is a fragile and quiet individual, which is not a problem as long as he is protected, and Emery needs to manage the World Cup winner carefully this summer to ease the pressure on his shoulders – which is why it is vital Aaron Ramsey signs a new deal.
Ramsey, a candidate to be named the club captain after Per Mertesacker’s retirement, is entering the final 12 months of his contract with the Gunners but Arsenal are confident of agreeing renewed terms with the Wales international.
With Lucas Torreira arriving to provide grit and steel in midfield in front of the defence, Ramsey could be given a license to push further forward into the final third – thus easing the pressure and reliance on Mesut Ozil.
Additionally, Ozil should thrive with a top-class attack around him after seeing Arsenal spend heavily to bring Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the club in the past year.
With that team around him, Ozil should enjoy a thrilling campaign but the events this summer show that fans need to ensure he retains their support even if the going gets tough.