Nobody saw this coming.
Mesut Ozil hasn’t had the easiest time of things lately.
Arsenal’s playmaker is at the centre of a heated dispute with his national team and has retired from international football following Germany’s disappointment in Russia.
Ozil has since returned to pre-season duty with the Gunners, where players and fans alike are doing their best to make the 29-year-old feel at home.
The latest gesture from Unai Emery has shown clearly just how much he values the German being a part of his squad.
Arsenal’s new manager has named Ozil as his side’s captain for their pre-season clash with PSG.
Emery has spoken about wanting five captains this season at Arsenal, with Ozil’s awarding of the armband today an indication that he will be one of those players.
The decision has surprised Gunners fans, with Ozil often a figure who polarises opinions in football. It certainly doesn’t seem like ‘captain material.’
The German’s laid-back playing style is often perceived as a lack of effort and the midfielder seems to always be criticised when things go wrong for Arsenal.
Emery’s show of faith in Ozil, who earns a reported £350,000 a week at Arsenal, could prove to be a stroke of genius if it restores his confidence and brings the best out of the midfielder.
Arsene Wenger was often criticised for his treatment of the German, with many believing he was far too easy on Ozil and let him pick and choose his moments too often.
Emery has experience of dealing with egos from his time at PSG and will hope to give Ozil’s career the shake up that it fully needs.
Today’s game will not only be Ozil’s first wearing the armband for Arsenal, but will also see him debut his new squad number.
After Wilshere’s departure earlier this summer, the club’s No10 shirt, which was once worn by Dennis Bergkamp and less glamorously by William Gallas, became available for Ozil to take.
New number, new role… new Ozil?
Arsenal fans don’t know what to make of their new captain…