Ozil impact just like Bergkamp, says Arsenal legend Wright

Former striker backs the Gunners to end their trophy drought this year following an "absolutely fantastic" start to the season and defends his past criticism of Arsene Wenger
By Greg Stobart

Arsenal legend Ian Wright has backed the Gunners to end their trophy drought this season - and feels Mesut Ozil has had the same galvanising effect on the club as Dennis Bergkamp.

Arsene Wenger’s side have won 10 matches in a row in all competitions since their embarrassing defeat at home to Aston Villa on the first day of the Premier League campaign and sit top of the table after six games.

Ozil arrived in a club record £42 million deal on the final day of the transfer window and Wright believes the German can lead Arsenal to their first trophy in nine years and inspire success in the same way as Bergkamp after he joined the club in 1995.

"Without a doubt they can win something this year," Wright told Goal. "If they can keep the injuries to a minimum and keep this vibrancy and energy that Ozil has brought to the club, then they can do it.

"Without a doubt, it’s similar to when Bergkamp joined Arsenal. We’re talking about two world class players, two world class performers. Dennis was an exemplary professional and when he played, my game went up 40-50 per cent because of his quality in every single training session.

"That's what's happening with Ozil at Arsenal. When they are training now, their game will naturally be lifted because you have to get to that standard. That's going breed more confidence throughout the whole place.

"Ozil is the kind of player I’ve been calling for for years. He’s given the squad and the team a boost but I think Arsenal need a couple more. If something happens to Olivier Grioud there could be a problem because he is awesome right now."

Wright has been critical of Arsenal’s performances in recent years but insists he was entitled to ask questions of Wenger at a club that carries expectation and a culture of winning.

"I get a lot of stick from Arsenal fans for it, but for a club of that stature to go eight years without winning anything, you’ve got a right to ask stuff,” said Wright, who was speaking at the launch of the Barclays Buses, a new free-travel initiative to thank groups of away fans for their support.

"No-one is saying that they want the manager to go but as soon as you start asking questions, people think you’ve got something against Wenger.

"When I played for the club, there was a sense that you had to win something, had to achieve something. When you go eight years without that happening, people have got the right to ask the questions about the manager, about signings that haven’t worked out.

"At the same time, he’s still a great enough manager that he can turn it around again - and hopefully that is happening now. It’s been absolutely fantastic."

Ian Wright was speaking at the launch of the Barclays Buses, a new free-travel initiative from Barclays to say 'thank you' to groups of away fans that travel the length and breadth of the country supporting their team. Join the conversation on social media using #YouAreFootball