'Ozil could have done Modric's role' - Mertesacker calls Arsenal midfielder 'a top player'

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The former Germany international spent three years in the Spanish capital but has failed to show consistent form since moving to the Premier League

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil could have grown into the role Luka Modric has taken on at Real Madrid if the playmaker had been given more time in the Spanish capital, according to ex-defender Per Mertesacker.

Ozil ended a three-year stint at Santiago Bernabeu in 2013 to join the Gunners, and has been heavily criticised for his work-rate and lack of consistency in the Premier League.

And Goal understands the north London club are now open to selling the former Germany international this summer due to his £350,000-a-week wages. 

Modric, however, who has been at Real since 2012, has gone on to become recognised as one of the world's best players in that time, winning the Ballon d'Or in 2018.

But Mertesacker, a former Arsenal and Germany team-mate of Ozil, believes the 30-year-old could have achieved similar things had he spent more time with one club. 

"Mesut makes Arsenal a better team when he is in top form," Mertesacker told DAZN. "With his offensive strengths, he could improve every European team. 

"What he certainly has to work on is his play when without the ball. European-level teams know exactly how to defend, which positions they need to be in. 

"Mesut is offensively, for me, one of the top players and can make the difference in games. For him, it would have been good to play for many years at a club - more than just five, six years. Then he would have had the chance to grow into the role of Luka Modric. 

"But even a Modric struggles to maintain his level after a top year. It would have been a big challenge for Mesut. But Ronaldo might have stayed with Real because he would always get the best assists [from Ozil]."

Shkodran Mustafi Arsenal 2018-19

Mertesacker retired in 2018 and featured alongside another Arsenal star in Shkodran Mustafi for club and country in his playing days.

The former Sampdoria defender, who spent time at Everton in his younger days, has struggled to settle in the Premier League after arriving from Valencia in 2016.

"It's a very difficult story, because Musti feels incredibly comfortable in England, or abroad in general," Mertesacker continued. 

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"I would not recommend him to go back to Germany because he has such great experiences abroad. Whether London, Spain or Italy - he has felt comfortable everywhere. That's why I think his primary footballing ambitions are overseas. 

"Yes, he was recently criticised in the media, but who was not at Arsenal? I can speak from my own experience. He knows he has to work hard on himself. 

"It is up to him to get out of this situation. I have complete confidence in that."

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