Mesut Ozil is being used as Arsenal scapegoat, says agent
By Allan Valente
Last Updated: 16/02/17 11:57pm
Mesut Ozil’s agent says the midfielder is being used as a scapegoat following Arsenal’s 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich.
Arsenal went into the break level at 1-1 at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night, but Arsene Wenger admitted his side endured a "nightmare" spell in the second half as they shipped three goals in the space of 10 minutes in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
The future of the long-serving Frenchman has again come into question from supporters and pundits, while Ozil has also found himself singled out by critics, but the 28-year-old's lawyer and representative Dr Erkut Sogut said that was misdirected.
"Criticism is normal if a player plays badly, but Mesut feels people are not focusing on his performance; they are using him as a scapegoat for the team after bad results," Dr Sogut told BBC Sport.
"Bayern had 74 per cent possession. How can someone in the number 10 position create chances if you don't have the ball? In these games people usually target a player who cost a lot of money and earns a lot of money - that is Mesut. But he can't be always be the scapegoat. That's not fair.
"Football is a team sport and Arsenal are not performing well as a team. Eleven players were on the pitch, but Mesut was singled out for criticism. Was he the reason that Arsenal conceded five goals?
"It started before the match, throughout the week leading up to the game. People started discussing: 'Should he play? Should he be dropped?'.
"It was as if everyone knew Arsenal would not make it through and we needed a scapegoat. This is not right. You win as a team and you lose as a team."
Ozil joined Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013 for a club-record £42.4m and has yet to agree a contract extension past the end of his current deal, which expires next year, but Sogut maintained his client was the player for the big occasion.
"I don't agree that Mesut has not had an impact on big matches," Sogut said. "What about the win at home to Chelsea this season and Manchester United the year before? What about the games for Germany against Italy and France at Euro 2016?
"People are always saying Mesut is not fighting or tackling, that he has poor body language, but that is how he is. Believe me, he is desperate to succeed. If it doesn't work, he shows his anger and expressions. Was his body language an issue when Arsenal were playing well?
"He is not someone who runs around aimlessly and tackles just so everyone thinks he is fighting. If it doesn't make sense to run somewhere he will keep that power for the next run."
Arsenal's next fixture is an FA Cup fifth-round tie away at non-league Sutton on Monday night, when Gunners fans will be expecting a response from Wenger's beleaguered squad.
Sogut added: "I don't think the criticism has affected his performance or his mental state. Mesut is committed to the club. There is no doubt that he will perform at 100 per cent, with total professionalism and commitment as long as he plays for Arsenal. Nothing will change that.
"He is sorry to the fans, and he's sorry that he and his team-mates couldn't give the fans a better result in Munich."