It seems that we can’t go one week without a former player and/or talking head questioning Mesut Ozil, so this week former Arsenal defender Martin Keown stepped up to bat to offer his two cents with a claim that Ozil has essentially checked out mentally and from the club as a whole.
Per The Telegraph:
"I think he's testing [Arsene] Wenger more than any other player has. Suddenly he was injured again, he played nine minutes against West Bromwich Albion on the Monday, so how did he get injured there? "I think in some departments he's already left. Psychologically, mentally, he's already left the football club. Maybe Wenger is now trying to do the best deal he can to get some compensation for him."
But Keown didn’t stop there.
"I think [Wenger] doesn't want that sort of player around the youngsters in the group. They played exceptionally well at Chelsea, where [Alex] Iwobi did a really manful job – I know he hasn't got the talent of Ozil, of course, but suddenly Arsenal could compete in both departments defensively and attacking-wise. It was probably the best performance I've seen in a couple of years.
I was really impressed and it seemed like every player was giving their best. [Alexis] Sanchez is different. He loves playing football, just give him a ball and he'll play and that's all he wants to do".
While it’s fair game to question a player’s contribution on the pitch during a game, questioning what’s going on between their ears is a far riskier proposition as none of us have any kind of insight into their mentality and what’s on their mind. Keown certainly could’ve come in contact with Ozil and gleaned some kind of special knowhow through their interaction, but as his comments seem to parrot those of many other pundits it seems more likely that he’s just jumping on the “Mesut Ozil is mentally weak” train while the getting’s good instead of offering any valuable look into Ozil’s psyche or, heaven forbid, an objective analysis of his performances on the pitch.
Keown’s certainly entitled to his opinion and Mesut Ozil certainly shouldn’t be pampered as there are reasons to be perturbed with both his play at times as well as his constantly ongoing contract talks, but Keown’s quotes just scream of lazy analysis and assumptions which we’ve heard over and over again since Ozil stepped foot on English soil. Ultimately, this is nothing new and it doesn’t seem like the perception of Ozil will change any time soon as long as he’s with this club.