Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has called on the club to try and sign playmaker Mesut Ozil.
Speaking on BT Sport during last night’s Europa League action, the 44-year-old said that he was baffled by the German’s continued omission from Arsenal’s line-up and believes that he would be an ideal short-term addition for the Old Trafford club.
Commenting on Ozil being left out of the Gunners’ team against Vitoria de Guimaraes last night, Scholes said on BT Sport [via The Mirror]: “I can’t understand it. I think he’s a player who can link a team together. He’s got great quality, he’s shown that in his career.
“He could be an answer short-term. I don’t know, I think that would be up to him.
“I probably can’t [see it happening]. I just think, short-term, he’s the sort of player United could do with.”
Scholes is justified in saying that Ozil has shown “great quality” in his career, with the 31-year-old scoring 43 goals and providing 74 assists in 233 games for Arsenal, an average of 0.18 goals and 0.32 assists per game.
The attacking midfielder has been largely ostracised by Unai Emery this season, with only two appearances in all competitions, but he has often shown his capability for unlocking opposition defences, with an average of 1.9 key passes per game in the Premier League last season and 3.2 per game in 2017/18, as per WhoScored.
By way of comparison, Paul Pogba has the most key passes per game for Manchester United this term with 2.6, with full-back Ashley Young (2.3) the only other player in the squad to have averaged more than two key passes in the Premier League. [via WhoScored]
Ozil at his best is the type of creative presence that is lacking in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s current squad – Pogba and Marcus Rashford are the only players with more than one assist for United so far this season, with two each in six (0.33 per game) and 12 matches (0.17 per game) respectively. [via TransferMarkt]
However, Scholes should remember the tale of another attacking player who, in January 2018, swapped the Emirates Stadium for Old Trafford.
Alexis Sanchez joined Manchester United at the age of 29 after a return of 80 goals and 45 assists in 166 games for Arsenal (0.48 goals and 0.27 assists per game). Those numbers fell to five goals and nine assists in 45 appearances for the Red Devils (0.11 goals and 0.2 assists per game), with the Chilean dispatched on loan to Inter for this season.
Although Ozil has been an excellent creator for Arsenal in his time, any potential move to Old Trafford could have echoes of that of Sanchez, who swapped London for Manchester at an age two years younger than the German’s current age.
That makes it difficult to share Scholes’ view that an ageing, out-of-favour playmaker is “the sort of player United could do with”.
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