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Someone needs to free Mesut Ozil from Arsenal and give him the end of career he deserves

It’s easy to tell a basic football fan from an intellectual- simply bring up the topic of Mesut Ozil.

A basic football fan will make the case that for £350,000-a-week wages Ozil should be a snarling Duracell Bunny, part Roy Keane, part Mo Farah.

An intellectual will hold up Ozil’s trademark ‘bounce pass’ as proof of his undeniable genius and standing as the Last of the Great Playmakers.

What category does Unai Emery fall into? You can make up your own mind up on that.

One thing is for certain. Ozil’s career is winding down with a whimper at Arsenal.

The 31-year-old has failed to make Arsenal’s last four matchday squads, despite being fit, and has only started one Premier League game this season.

Regardless of where you sit on the Ozil Spectrum, it’s sad, and baffling, to see such a creative tour de force failing to get into an Arsenal squad crying out for some invention.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

Emery’s distrust in Ozil is hard to explain as an outsider.

The Spaniard built his Sevilla team around Ever Banega for two of his three Europa League wins, with Ivan Rakitic playing behind Carlos Bacca for the other victorious campaign.

Banega is about as mercurial as midfielders come, so for Emery to put his faith in the playmaker shows he’s not afraid to gamble on genius.

Age shouldn’t be an issue either. Ozil has only recently turned 31, while he’s a player who has always relied on guile over explosive pace.

That’s one way to keep him in check

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That’s one way to keep him in check

The makeup of Emery’s midfield, with two holding midfielders in Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi preferring to play deep rather than playing in pockets, should be perfectly set up to accommodate Ozil.

Yet the World Cup winner watches at home with the rest of us while Joe Willock and co struggle to unpick anything resembling a well-organised defence.

So what next for the German? Bookies have Fenerbahce down as favourites to sign Ozil were he to leave Arsenal in January.

The Turkish side were forced to release an official statement last summer denying a move was close, with financial restraints making a deal unlikely.

But, if Ozil is feeling particularly romantic, he could take a pay cut to see out his career in the country from which his grandparents emigrated.

Where are the sandwiches?

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Where are the sandwiches?

AC Milan are another option, although the Serie A club have pivoted away from signing ageing players like Gonzalo Higuain and Leonardo Bonucci, instead taking a more youth-driven approach in recent transfer markets.

The riches of the Chinese Super League make China a realistic, if completely underwhelming, option.

Wherever Ozil chooses next, he deserves to see out his days heralded as the once-in-a-generation creative genius he is rather than wasting his time cleaning Xhaka’s boots.

If I have to break Ozil out of Arsenal with my own bare hands, then I’m willing to do it.

Happier times

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Happier times