Former Arsenal star Nigel Winterburn warned Mesut Ozil that his spot in the Arsenal line-up is in danger following the arrival of Dani Ceballos.
Things simply didn’t work out at all for Ozil last season, with just six goals and three assists to his name in 36 appearances across all competitions. Doubts over his future also grew amid a reported falling-out with manager Unai Emery.
Not helping the former Germany international’s case was his failure to make an impact during big games.
Now, Emery has signed Ceballos from Real Madrid on a season-long loan deal. The Gunners’ new number eight made his debut during last Sunday’s 2-1 Emirates Cup final defeat to Lyon.
And Winterburn reckons that Ceballos could prove to be a big problem for Ozil at the Emirates Stadium.
“I love watching Ozil play when he’s at his very best but last season he wasn’t influential in the team and I’m not sure what was really going on,” the two-time English league winner told 888sport.
“This season we will find out very quickly because Ceballos has come in who is a similar kind of player.”
”He [Ozil] is a terrific player to watch but when we get caught out defensively his enthusiasm to get back is questioned.
“That’s why perhaps we need to get him on the ball more in attacking areas but we’re not Manchester City or Liverpool who can dominate the ball a lot.”
Winterburn, who made 440 appearances in an Arsenal jersey, believes the opening 10 matches of this season will be critical for Ozil.
”Was his mind not right?” said the former full-back.
“Was it the demands being put on him? Was it the new training regime? Did he not fit into Unai Emery’s style?
“So we will find out everything we need to know about Emery’s thinking within the first ten games. Whether Ozil can elevate this team to the next level or if Emery is not happy with his contribution.”