Arsenal legend Henry defends Ozil and blames 'price-tag'

Ozil Downcast

Arsenal’s record goal scorer and ‘Invincibles’ legend Thierry Henry has come out in support of club record signing Mesut Ozil against critics of the German playmaker.

The 25-year-old German international signed this summer for the Gunners from Real Madrid for £42.5 million making him their most expensive ever player but after an impressive start to his debut season at the Emirates, the playmaker has been the target of criticism for his form in recent weeks.

Ozil has scored six goals and made 13 assists in competitions for Arsenal this term but critics have been quick to compare his performances for Arsenal to that of his former level in the Spanish capital.

He can count on one Arsenal though – Thierry Henry has defended the Gunners’ midfielder calling for understanding from fans and pundits to recognize he is undergoing a transitional phase this term, adapting to life in London and the challenge in the Premier League.

"People always talk about the game; (but) they don't actually remember that the guy coming has to adjust to a new style of living, talking another language, different food, different town, different team,” explained the Frenchman.

The World Cup winner who fired Arsenal to win two Premier League titles and three FA Cups during his eight years in North London asserted his belief that the price-tag of a player is the main issue that clouds people’s judgement of his performance.

Henry arrived in London from Juventus for £11 million in the summer of 1999, three years into the 18-year reign of manager Arsene Wenger who remains the longest-serving manager in the Premier League. The French striker left with a hefty price-tag of €24 million in 2007 to sign a £4.6 million per season deal with Barcelona.

"What I will say (is) the main thing that has changed is money. When the player has a price tag he has to perform straight away," he added.

Henry experienced a similar backlash in Catalonia after leaving Arsenal – after his sensational record with the Gunners scoring 226 goals across 369 appearances, the striker scored just 12 goals in his first season in La Liga but the self-proclaimed Arsenal fan has remained a legend at the Emirates and has admitted he would one day like to return as a coach.

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