The Hard Tackle brings to you a round-up of all the news regarding Premier League giants Arsenal.
Mesut Ozil has hit out at his critics, claiming that he is irked by people who single him out for criticism after one bad performance. Ozil told German magazine Kicker, “If I have one bad game after ten good ones, there is immediate criticism.”
Ozil, however, also said that he chooses to ignore most of the criticism coming his way, adding, “I have been in the business for many years. If I believed and accepted everything written about me I would be crazy.” He finally went on to insist that criticism only makes him stronger, and that poor performances are a result of fatigue.
“But through my experience and self-confidence I can handle my critics. They just make me stronger. The expectations for me are raised each year. But I played through the Euros, had a short holiday and could hardly prepare for the season. As a player you need a break.”
Ozil recently came under fire for underwhelming performances for Arsenal, as Arsene Wenger’s side lost back-to-back matches away at Everton and Manchester City. Those two losses have seen Arsenal lose momentum in the race for the Premier League title, and the Gunners are currently eight points adrift of leaders Chelsea.
The Germany international has since missed Arsenal’s last two matches due to illness, but is now closer to a return ahead of the team’s trip to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
Meanwhile, former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell has urged Ozil to sign a new deal with the club, even if Arsene Wenger decides to not renew his contract to stay at the Emirates Stadium beyond this season.
Earlier this week, Ozil said that he is happy to sign a new deal with Arsenal but wanted more clarity about Wenger’s situation before committing to a new deal. However, Campbell, while understanding Ozil’s good intentions, urged the German playmaker to sign a new deal despite the confusion surrounding Wenger’s future at the club.
He told Sky Sports, “Like any top player, he wants the manager who signed him. I can understand why he said that, but who’s got a crystal ball? He [Wenger] might say I’m here for a year and he might be gone in two years’ time. Ozil might sign a four-year deal and someone might come in and buy him and he might be off.”
The futures of Ozil and teammate Alexis Sanchez have been up in the air, with several reports claiming that the duo are holding out for a hike in wages. Arsenal fans, however, will be hoping that the influential pair renew their deal with the club and end all uncertainties surrounding their futures.
Moving on to some transfer news, and Arsenal have completed the signing of unheralded left back Cohen Bramall from Hednesford Town that plays in the non-league side Northern League Premier Division.
Manager Arsene Wenger spoke after the completion of Bramall’s signing, “[Bramall] is a young, promising left back who has a lack of experience at the top level but who has fantastic ingredients. He has tremendous pace, a good left foot, a great desire to do well. Overall, he’s a very exciting prospect.”
The 20-year-old defender recently gave a trial with Arsenal before sealing a dream move to the Premier League club. Bramall will play for the club’s under-23 side.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are set to be rivalled by West Ham United to sign AFC Wimbledon’s teenage wonderkid Toby Sibbick, with the 17-year-old right-back making waves for the club’s under-23 developmental squad.
Continuing with some more transfer news, and AS Roma are interested in signing on-loan goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny on a permanent deal once his loan spell ends at the completion of the season. But the Serie A club will have to pay at least €16 million to Arsenal in order to secure the services of the Pole.
Finally, Arsenal, along with Manchester United and Barcelona, are set to miss out on Red Bull Salzburg’s Dayot Upamecano, with the highly rated defender reportedly close to signing a a €12 million deal with RB Leipzig.