Mesut Özil is a man who divides opinion publicly, so why is it that Arsenal fans want him to stay so badly, and United fans are so happy to see him linked with them?
Heavily slated in the media since his arrival, on your average match-day it’s not uncommon to see tweets about how “overrated” Özil is and how he’s been “invisible” all game, in particular from any fanbase that isn’t Arsenal’s. Even some Arsenal supporters seem to turn on him as soon as he isn’t getting goals or assists, so easily swayed are they by the wrong impressions of the pundits.
So isn’t it funny, that as soon as Özil is linked with a move away from the Gunners, that all starts to change?
When Manchester United were reportedly in the running, United fans pulled a full 180, with Express reporting quotes from fans saying things such as: “Özil on a free is a very good option. In fact, if he can raise his game under Mourinho like before then he is a brilliant option.”
As well as: “Özil is a class act. He is levels above Mata in every area except being a really nice guy. He is more creative than Mata and his pace means he’s a big threat on the counter attack. On a free transfer he would be great business.”
In fact, the overwhelming consensus on fan forums was positive, with another adding: “Özil has a ridiculous amount of talent and I do think on his day he’s one of the best around in his position.”
Then it was reported that Mesut might not be on the way out after all, as his agent said they’d held positive talks with the Gunners. Suddenly Arsenal fans were the ones showing their excitement and singing his praises (via Gunnersphere):
Finally some good news ,I guess the United rumour made Arsenal up their game
— Simamkele Jobela (@Jobela_Sam) October 11, 2017
Heavenly Father please make this man renew his contract
— themba (@ThembaxxLimba) October 11, 2017
for me ozil wil never be a messi but I wish he stays more dan sanchez.I see lemar n moura joining arsenal
— marcos medo (@marcos_medo) October 13, 2017
I like to believe that deep down, most fans know Özil’s value to whatever team he’s in. The problem is that superstar attacking players are expected to score or assist as often as possible, so whenever Mesut fails to do that he’s an easy target for criticism.
It doesn’t matter if he was the most creative player on the pitch, if he was the only one making things happen, or if the team would’ve done even worse without him. As long as he doesn’t score or assist, all other statistics can be brushed aside as irrelevant.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what people think of Mesut, as long as he retains his self-belief and keeps doing what he does best on the pitch.
It’s just a bit disheartening to see him so regularly miss out on the praise he deserves.