Ex-Arsenal boss compares Ozil's struggles to that of a club legend

George Graham says even Dennis Bergkamp struggled early on at Arsenal.

Former Arsenal boss George Graham has defended Mesut Ozil after he was substituted at half-time during last night’s Champions League last 16 tie against Bayern Munich.

Ozil failed to make any impact in the Gunners 1-1 draw at the Allianz arena – as they lost 3-1 on aggregate – and is reported to have picked up an injury.

The German international has come in for a lot of criticism of late of not living up to the £42m that Arsenal paid Real Madrid for him during the summer.

But the former Arsenal manager has said even the best players have struggled in their early days at a new club, and cites one example from the club he used to manage.

Graham told TalkSport: “I remember when Dennis Bergkamp came over, even he struggled. He has got talent, there is no question about it.

“He is one of the most talented players in Europe, but it is going to take him time to settle in.”

So far during his Arsenal career, Ozil has found the net six times and provided 13 assists in all competition in 35 appearances.

NameTeamPosGoal AssistAppsMins
Wayne Rooney Man Utd FW 10 23 1,936
Luis Suarez Liverpool FW 10 23 2,064
Steven Gerrard Liverpool MF 9 24 2,023
Mesut Özil Arsenal MF 8 22 1,834
Olivier Giroud Arsenal FW 7 26 2,244

As the table above will show you - Ozil has not exactly been doing nothing in the Arsenal side as he's ranked fourth in the assist providers in the Premier League this season - then again nor did Dennis Bergkamp in his early seasons in the Premier League.

The legendary Dutch striker provided a solid return in both of his first two seasons at Arsenal scoring 11 and 12 goals in the league in his first two seasons.

You can see why the comparison is there because despite any struggles there have been signs of the quality shining through. Bergkamp went on to win many trophies in an Arsenal shirt so there is probably no reason why Ozil can't achieve something similar.

Some have said the German needs a break, which he probably does. But the first season was always going to have its problems, no matter how good the player is. 

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