Mesut Ozil is easily one of the world’s best creative midfielders, but his 2013-14 campaign was largely disappointing.
Having joined Arsenal from Real Madrid for a club-record transfer fee of £42.5 million last summer, the 25-year-old set alight the Premier League right from the start. His performances and the belief he gave to the Gunners saw Arsene Wenger’s side look genuine title contenders in the early part of the campaign.
However, Ozil’s form dipped at the turn of the year, and by mid-March Arsenal were pretty much out of the running for their first championship triumph since 2004. The main reason for the Germany international’s slump in form was the fact that this was the first time in his career he was playing through the festive period and without any breaks.
Ozil also picked up injuries and although he did regain some of his form towards the end of the campaign, his 2013-14 season will go down as being largely modest. Many have cast doubts on whether the former Werder Bremen playmaker is actually the man who can lead the Gunners to success, but his stats below demonstrate that he can (although he does need to maintain his form).
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Now, Ozil’s Germany international teammate Philipp Lahm has pointed out another reason why Ozil did not have the best of debut seasons in England: lack of a world-class striker in the Arsenal squad.
‘He is a dream for strikers and you saw that with [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Karim] Benzema when he was at Madrid’, the Bayern Munich captain told Goal.com. ‘If Arsenal can find the right striker who is fast and makes intelligent runs, then Mesut will be devastating next season’.
Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo are the only two recognised centre-forwards in the North London club’s squad. While the latter is still 21 and has yet to prove himself, the former has still room to improve. True, the Frenchman has developed in 2013-14, but there are better strikers in Europe who can either replace him or complement him.
Arsenal have been linked with a number of forwards this summer and, interestingly, one of them is Benzema. The France international has just won the Champions League with Madrid and may not be keen on taking a step down in his career – although if the Spanish giants want to cash in on him, then it would be a different matter .
This summer Wenger will need to make some crucial signings, and one of them will have to be a striker. As good as Ozil can be and as many chances he can create, he needs to have a striker in front of him who can execute them.
Giroud can do it to a certain extent, but for Arsenal to challenge for the Premier League title and progress far in the Champions League, they need an upgrade on the 27-year-old.