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Arsène Wenger sticks up for Mesut Özil



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Arsenal manager has defended the club’s record signing Mesut Özil after the German World Cup winner has come under a lot of criticism of late.

Quoted by the Guardian, the Gunners boss said:

“I would pay the money [£42m] again. Of course.”

The Mesut Özil debate has dominated the talk ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Villa Park in the Premier League today.

Arsène Wenger did admit he is feeling under pressure to make the playmaker a success at the Emirates Stadium:

“I feel that responsibility exactly the same for a player who cost £1. When I see a talent, for any player, I think how can I get the best out of him. That is not linked with price. It is just a coincidence that the market is like it is.

“He’s a confident boy. This guy has played for the German national team and won the World Cup playing wide and nobody found a word to say. He has been criticised during the World Cup and still played well and he was always in every single team. He can be a top player.”

It’s the wide role that is under question of late with Mesut Özil on the fringes of games when he’s been lined out on the left wing and even switched to the right. You’d be forgiven for not knowing he played in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City last weekend, such was his lack of input.

Wenger went into great debate over after number 10s that have been successfully used out wide:

“[Zinedine] Zidane went to Real Madrid for £82 million and he played on the left. There was never a debate and he had to play there.

“Because in the middle they had Raul and Ronaldo he made room and played on the left. When you have the ball you play where you want and go where you want.”

The Arsenal manager then discussed the Brazil national team from the 1970s:

“It is a debate as old as the world. Since we played football. When you look at the Brazil team in 1970 they had Tostão, Rivelino, Pelé, Jairzinho, Gerson, Clodoaldo, They all played number 10 in their clubs. They put them all together and they won the World Cup in a convincing way.”

What Arsène Wenger is doing could arguably be helping the England national team in the future as it is Jack Wilshere who is playing in one of the central roles instead of where many think Özil should be playing. The Arsenal manager continued:

“What is Wilshere but basically a number 10? He played his whole life at number 10. Somebody had to go out there. Is it Wilshere, Özil, Ramsey? Nobody is really natural out wide. So you keep good players out or you try to get them together.”

Arsenal travel to Aston Villa today after their 2-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund midweek.