Wenger on Arsenal’s Ozil woe: He is not a difficult player

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said that managing Mesut Ozil was not difficult but added that certain players are “are a bit more sensitive.”

Ozil has not appeared for Mikel Arteta’s side all season amid speculation that he will move on from the Gunners as the 32-year-old enters the final six months of his £350,000-a-week contract in January.

Ozil was signed by Wenger in 2013 for a then-club-record £42 million from Real Madrid, but has butted heads with Arteta since the Spaniard took over at the Emirates in 2019.

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Speaking to ESPN’s Caught Offside podcast, Wenger quelled the notions that Ozil can be trouble in the boot room.

“He was not difficult to manage. He was a guy who had a special quality as a creative player and needed to have fun,” Wenger said. “He is an artist and these guys are a bit more sensitive.

“They need support and an environment that pushes them to give their best.”

Ozil, who won the 2014 World Cup winner with Germany, will be free to negotiate directly with overseas clubs, with sources telling ESPN’s James Olley that a move to Major League Soccer is among his options.

Wenger also provided advice for Arteta, once his player at Arsenal, on how to best utilise someone like Ozil.

“You have two ways to see a football team. You get everybody to do the same. The same intensity of work, the same defensive work or you find a compromise. You have a more creative player in the team who can do less defensive work but you build a team around him who can compensate for these deficiencies. That is what you have to think about.”

Wenger pointed to the situation at his great rival Manchester United and Paul Pogba on how to deal with internal tensions with a player.

“I believe that you have to explain to a player that no matter what his future plan is, his interest and his job is to perform at the present [club]. It’s the best way to prepare your future, to play well in the present.

“When I saw Pogba coming on on Tuesday night at RB Leipzig, I was sorry he didn’t start the game because straight away he made a huge impact.”

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