Arsenal could solve Mesut Ozil problem with these two fantasy signings! - George Graham

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019 7:00am

By James Gray @jamestingray

Arsenal would simply need to sign Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit in order to free Mesut Ozil from any defensive requirements, according to ex-Gunners boss George Graham.

Ozil was man of the match as Arsenal beat Newcastle United 2-0 on Monday night to move into third place in the Premier League and an automatic Champions League qualification place.

But the German remains an unreliable source of creativity in Unai Emery's line-up with the Spanish manager unwilling to use him away from home for tactical reasons.

Graham won two league titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups and a European Cup Winners' Cup as Arsenal manager between 1986 and 1995 and reckons he has a solution - but it requires more than a little imagination.

"When I was a manager, I probably would have bought Vieira and Petit the other side and put Ozil in the middle!" Graham told Ian Stone's Comedy Breakfast (weekdays 6.30am-10.30am).

"He's a real quality player in possession. There's no question about it.

"If they can just get him working a bit harder without possession, they've got a fantastic player.

"In the modern game now, you have to play when you've got the ball and you play when you haven't got the ball. This is the modern way.

"He's just got to work a lot harder with the attitude as well as the physical side of the game.

"He's never going to fly into tackles like Graham Sounness, who was excellent on the ball but was tough without it.

"Nobody expects Ozil to do that, but they do expect him, when they lose the ball, to get back into the shape the team is playing."

Ozil signed a new contract in January last year that will run until 2021, suggesting that he remains a part of the long-term plans at the Emirates.

By contrast, long-serving midfielder Aaron Ramsey will walk away from north London on a free transfer in the summer to join Juventus, a club decision that continues to baffle many, including Graham.

"The clubs usually, with two years to go on the contract, sit down and start talking," Graham added.

"Then you have an indication of whether the player is going to stay or go.

"Obviously, they've made a big mistake I think in letting Ramsey go. He's a quality player especially in an attacking sense.

"He's not the best in midfield winning the ball back for you but he gets goals and is a great player going forward, not necessarily defending."

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