Robert Pires think that something has ‘clicked’ for Mesut Ozil, and that he is now ready to fill Dennis Bergkamp’s shoes
The German midfielder has been in excellent form this season, notching up 7 goals and 3 assists in just 13 games. That is a huge improvement, considering Ozil only scored 8 goals in 45 games last season.
And Arsenal legend Robert Pires feels that Ozil’s performances this season – provided he keeps them up – can see him have the same impact for Arsenal as Dutch genius Dennis Bergkamp did :
“Something has clicked,” he said, according to Goal.com.
“This is a difference between the last season with Mesut Ozil and now because he’s thinking just for himself and sometimes when you are in front of the target it is very important to score a goal.
“Mesut Ozil has very good qualities, he can normally score a minimum of 12 goals during the Premier League so in my time the maestro was Dennis Bergkamp, and now it is Mesut Ozil.
“I love them both because they play very good football but they play for the team. Not for himself, they play for the team. This point is very important for the future and of course for Arsenal.”
Pires is not the only one who thinks this. Arsene Wenger said a few weeks ago that Mesut Ozil could emulate Dennis Bergkamp, provided he committed his future to the club.
There is little doubt that Wenger said this to help convince Ozil to sign a new contract, something that Arsenal and Ozil are currently deep in negotiations about.
However, it is hard not to see a semblance of truth to what the Frenchmen have said about the German World Cup winner. The two of them have similarities not only in terms of technical ability and playing style, but also in the mental side of their respective games.
Technically, Dennis Bergkamp was incredible. As capable of powerful, rasping shots as he was of a delicate flick into a space no one saw, Bergkamp was a joy to watch.
Mesut Ozil evokes a similar feeling whenever he is on song. The German pulls off some absolutely audacious touches at times, and while his finishing is not at the same level of Bergkamp’s, it is clear that it is something he has been working on given his goal return this season. An example of his wonderful technique is his goal against Ludogorets earlier this season :
This is just one of the brilliant goals Ozil has scored for Arsenal, and that is not where the similarities end. Another thing that stands out in the goals above, is just how composed and aware both Ozil and Bergkamp were of not only how much time they had, but the players around them and where they were.
Bergkamp exuded calm whenever in possession of the ball earning him the nickname “The Iceman.” Ozil is no different, and never seems flustered when in possession of the ball, although he is prone to anger sometimes.
The thing Ozil is best known for, however, is his creativity. The German seems to be able to see the pitch as if viewing it from above. He instinctively knows where his teammates are making runs, even if he has not turned to look up for more than a split-second. Combined with his technique, he is a dream for any stiker – just ask Cristiano Ronaldo who was openly critical of Real Madrid’s decision to sell Ozil.
Thierry Henry has also said that Dennis Bergkamp was the best teammate he ever played with, and that is no small praise coming from a player who has played with the likes of Ronaldinho and Zinedine Zidane.
What Ozil and Bergkamp do on the pitch is almost unreal at times. Their awareness is inexplicable, and their execution is outstanding. It is no surprise, then, that both Wenger and Pires feel that he has what it takes to fill Bergkamp’s humongous boots.
Ozil has some way to go if he is to truly succeed Dennis Bergkamp.
The Dutchman is considered one of the greatest players to ever grace the Premier League, and was immortalised outside The Emirates with a statue – one of only 3 players to receive that honour so far, the others being Tony Adams and Thierry Henry.
If Ozil continues playing the way he does, and commits to Arsenal as Wenger has hoped, then the comparisons will definitely begin to get stronger and stronger.