Mesut Ozil just can’t seem to get away from criticism these days.
The 25-year-old got off to a brilliant start to life at the Emirates after Arsenal splashed out a club record £42.5m for his services, leading the charge as the side assumed the dizzying heights of the table’s upper reaches.
With a massive fee behind him and the expectations that inevitably came with it, the ex-Real Madrid man looked to be every bit that top player the Gunners seemed to be lacking in recent years.
Supporters hailed him and plaudits were too numerous to be counted, that is until matters started to break down a bit for Ozil come December.
Zero goals and two assists in his last 14 appearances for the North London outfit across all competitions have made for ugly reading.
The aforementioned acclaim has of course evolved into condemnation - coming to a head with the midfielder’s inexplicably weak penalty miss against Bayern Munich a fortnight ago.
Since, Ozil has been handed time off and a substitute’s appearance in the weekend’s loss to Stoke, leaving observers wondering when a recovery of form can be expected.
Some in the German’s homeland have taken a dim view of the international star’s lacklustre showings of late, particularly in view of Die Mannschaft and the coming World Cup.
And legend Lothar Mattaus - who won international football’s greatest prize under the banner of West Germany in 1990 - has now questioned Ozil’s stature in Joachim Low’s set-up.
“The leading role doesn’t suit Ozil,” he told Kicker. “And you don’t do him any favors expecting him to lead a team.
“He doesn’t have the personality to want to be dominant.”
Ozil has been a mainstay in the Germany side for some time now - a regular starter at both the last edition of the World Cup in South Africa and Euro 2012.
But with a wealth of attacking midfield talent in the nation’s ranks - not limited to Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze and Julian Draxler - there are plenty of others available to relieve Ozil of his duties.
And in this vein Gunter Netzer, yet another World Cup winner with Germany, sees one of these four as the man to step in for the struggling Arsenal man.
“If Ozil is at his best, he can help, but the recent performances have raised doubts,” he said.
“If I can compare him to those in Bayern Munich’s midfield, I think I’d rather have someone like Toni Kroos in the side than Ozil.”
image: © Steindy