Mikel Arteta faced the wrath of many Arsenal supporters when he pushed Mesut Ozil away from his Arsenal side at the end of last season.
The German was then left out of the Premier League and Europa League squads, and he had almost no choice but to leave the Emirates in the January transfer window.
Arsenal and Ozil mutually agreed to terminate his contract and the former Real Madrid star left us to join Turkish giants Fenerbahce.
Even though Arteta hadn’t used him, Arsenal had to replace him and in came Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on loan until the end of this season.
One of the first things Arsenal fans noticed about the Norwegian was how similar he is to Ozil. The way he finds space for himself, his ball control and his vision are all very similar to the controversial German, but why does Arteta prefer Odegaard when he didn’t fancy his predecessor?
The Arsenal boss’ recent comments shed some light.
Odegaard is mobile and hard-working
Arteta said on Sunday, as per Arsenal.com: “I love talented and creative players that all the time are willing to take that ball and make things happen, that are mobile and also hard-working.
“He (Odegaard) is one of them. We have some others with different qualities but it’s true that Martin is now giving us a different level on certain things that we didn’t have.”
The key words there are ‘mobile’ and ‘hard-working’.
Ozil was talented, creative and was always willing to take the ball and make things happen. However, his work-rate was always questioned – unfairly at times – but it is clear that Odegaard is levels above him in that department.
The big question now is if Odegaard can do some of the things that Ozil did on the pitch on a consistent basis. The talent is clearly there, but if he can get to the German’s level while also maintaining the same work-rate, he will go on to become one of the best in the world.
Arteta’s comments show exactly why he axed Ozil but loves Odegaard. Hopefully, he can find a way to keep the Norwegian beyond the end of this season.