'Ozil is an artist' - Wenger insists 'special' Arsenal midfielder is not 'difficult to manage'

Mesut Ozil Arsenal
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The Frenchman says he never had any problems with the ex-Germany international, but has admitted that he is a "sensitive" character

Arsene Wenger has insisted that Mesut Ozil is not "difficult to manage", while describing the "special" Arsenal midfielder as an "artist".

Wenger convinced Ozil to join Arsenal from Real Madrid for a then-club record fee of £43 million ($57m) in the summer of 2013.

The ex-Germany international arrived at Emirates Stadium with a reputation as one of the best creative players in European football, and soon became a fixture in the Arsenal starting line up due to his ability to carve open defences with his exceptional passing range.

However, despite helping the Gunners win three FA Cups during Wenger's final five years in charge, Ozil was often subjected to criticism for his perceived lack of effort and fitness.

The 32-year-old was always a favourite of Wenger's, but when the Frenchman finally left the club in 2018, his successor's first port of call was to drop the playmaker.

Unai Emery only used Ozil sporadically over the course of his 18-month reign at the Emirates, but he was initially given a fresh lease of life upon Mikel Arteta's arrival in the dugout last December.

The former Madrid star was a regular in Arteta's plans before the coronavirus outbreak brought the 2019-20 campaign screeching to a temporary halt, and seemed to have rediscovered his best form after one of the most frustrating periods of his career.

Unfortunately, that proved to be a false dawn for Ozil, who has not played for Arsenal since the resumption of football in June.

He was left out of Arteta's Premier League and Europa League squads for the new season, and looks set to spend the final six months of his contract on the sidelines.

It has been suggested that Ozil has been a disruptive influence in the dressing room during his time with the Gunners, but Wenger claims he never had any issues with him.

"He was not difficult to manage. He was a guy who had a special quality as a creative player and needed to have fun," the legendary former Arsenal boss told ESPN.

"He is an artist and these guys are a bit more sensitive.

"They need support and an environment that pushes them to give their best."

Wenger went onto advise Arteta on how best to use Ozil, with it his belief that sacrifices must be made in order to accommodate a player with his unique talents.

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"You have two ways to see a football team. You get everybody to do the same. The same intensity of work, the same defensive work or you find a compromise," he added.

"You have a more creative player in the team who can do less defensive work but you build a team around him who can compensate for these deficiencies.

"That is what you have to think about."

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