Wenger challenges Ozil to become a leader after signing new deal

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The Germany international has signed a new contract at Arsenal and his manager has backed him to step up his displays as a result

Arsene Wenger has challenged Mesut Ozil to become a leader on the pitch for Arsenal after committing his future to the club.

Ozil agreed a long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday after speculation that he could leave for free at the end of the season.

The Germany international's deal ties him to the club until 2021 and Ozil described the announcement as "one of the most important decisions of my footballing career".

With the playmaker's future cleared up, Wenger expects to see Ozil raise his game on the pitch and help the Gunners in their quest for a top-four finish this season.

"He [Ozil] has committed his future to the club in a period where we are in a tricky position in qualifying for the Champions League," Wenger told a media conference.

"What I expect from him is to lead the team to success [on the pitch].

"Many had predicted he would not commit, it is good news for us, to keep a player of that calibre is good news."

While Wenger ensured Ozil would remain at the club, he allowed Olivier Giroud to leave for Premier League rivals Chelsea.

Wenger admitted seeing Giroud move to Stamford Bridge was not ideal, but he could not stand in the way of the France international.

"I think ideally you want him to go to a club not competing with you," added the Gunners boss.

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"But it was linked with the [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang deal.

"He wanted to stay in London and I believe we owe Olivier Giroud a lot. His commitment and love for the club was exceptional.

"So, it was difficult to turn down just because it was a rival club [bidding for him]."

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