Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fàbregas claims that midfielder Mesut Özil doesn’t ‘have it in him to be a leader’ for Unai Emery’s side, adding that the German playmaker needs a Cristiano Ronaldo-type of player next to him in order to thrive.
The 30-year-old started in Arsenal’s Europa League final defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday and struggled to make a significant impact on the game, eventually being replaced by teenager Joe Willock who turned out to be one of the better performers.
After the match, former Gunner Fàbregas questioned Özil’s ability to be a leader inside the Arsenal dressing room, insisting that the World Cup winner simply doesn’t ‘have it in him’ to carry the club’s current crop of players.
“I think sometimes you just have it inside or you don’t have it,” Fàbregas told BT Sport. “When he was at Real Madrid he was surrounded by top, top players and one of the best players in the history of the sport in Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I’m not taking anything away from Mesut, he played top football there, but once you step down a little bit, because we can all agree Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich they are top three, you have to show yourself a little bit more because you don’t have the same quality around you.
“The club buys you to be the actual leader around the club. I don’t think Mesut has that in him to carry. I don’t train with him every day, but I don’t think he has it in him to be leader.”
Özil has now spent six years at Arsenal following a £42m move from Real Madrid, going on to make 231 appearances for the club across all competitions.
He had looked set to leave the club on a free transfer last summer, but Özil eventually agreed to sign a new three-year contract in February 2018 which catapulted him to the top of Arsenal’s wage bill.