Mesut Ozil can boost Arsenal with January recall thanks to Thomas Partey, insists Gunners legend Paul Merson

ARSENAL icon Paul Merson believes Mesut Ozil can make a difference if he is introduced back into the team… but only if he starts alongside Thomas Partey.

The 32-year-old – who is set to become a free agent next summer – hasn't played a competitive game for the club since March.


Ozil was omitted from Arsenal's Premier League and Europa League squads for this season, but can be re-registered in the New Year.

And with the club struggling to create chances in the top-flight, there have been calls for Mikel Arteta to put his faith in the German World Cup winner once again.

Former Gunners star Merson has stated that Ozil can help the North Londoners in the final third of the pitch, but only if he has the protection of Partey behind him.

The Sky Sports pundit said: "For me, Mesut Ozil comes back in the team if Thomas Partey is fit.

"Partey gets around the pitch, dominates the midfield and dictates the game. Him playing opens up a chance for Ozil.

"At the moment, Arsenal have nobody in there to provide the forwards. You can make runs all day long, but if you're a centre-forward, your runs are only as good as the players playing behind you.

"When these Arsenal players are getting the ball in midfield, with time, is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang making the run?

"Is he confident they are going to see his run and are capable of getting that ball through the eye of a needle? I'd say no, so they need creativity."

Before adding: "Teams are sitting back against Arsenal, and they don't have the creativity in midfield to break them down.

 "If Partey doesn't play, Ozil can't play. Without Partey, Arsenal are not going to dictate the midfield, and then can't afford to play with 10 men.

"But if Arsenal have the midfield, and Ozil is playing behind Aubameyang, with two flying wingers. You ask the back four to stay still, including the full-backs.

"You'd play Granit Xhaka next to Partey, then Ozil in front, then have Aubameyang central, Bukayo Saka on the left, and try and get a tune out of Nicolas Pepe.

"Get the ball to Ozil, and before you know it, if you make runs, he'll find you."

Jack Wilshere has also backed Ozil to come back into the team, insisting he can get Aubameyang back firing once again.

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