Mesut Ozil’s arrival at Arsenal last summer was meant to signal the start of a new era for the Gunners, one where they could compete with the Premier League’s best both on and off the pitch.
For a while, the £42.5m signing looked able to live up to the billing, contributing four goals and eight assists in his first 13 league matches, but as the season went on Ozil’s form plummeted.
Worse still, he has been unable to recover his mojo at the start of this term, with his anonymous displays in Arsenal’s last three games drawing confusion and some anger from the Gunners’ fanbase.
Some blame must be laid at Arsene Wenger’s door, who has used Ozil out of position on the left flank where his lack of work-rate is especially exposed, but the German himself needs to bring more to the table.
So far he has attempted just five tackles, being successful with three, while registering no goals and no assists in three matches so far.
In contrast Alexis Sanchez has attempted 20 tackles in four matches, winning six, as well as scoring two goals and setting up one.
Sanchez has also been moved around the Arsenal formation but has responded with more application than Ozil, who looks like a ghost on the pitch in comparison to the bustling Chilean.
Dropping your record signing is no easy task, but Wenger has to consider replacing Ozil, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could bring all the drive and energy to the side that the German lacks.
The 21-year-old has featured in all of Arsenal’s league games so far this season, but is yet to play 90 minutes as Wenger shuffles his pack of attacking midfielders.
Oxlade-Chamberlain lacks Ozil’s guile, but his direct dribbling and willingness to shoot would be a welcome boost to Arsenal’s frequently ponderous play.
Playing him alongside Danny Welbeck and Sanchez in attack would give the Gunners a frontline packed with aggression and speed, and Ozil could even benefit from slotting behind this trio rather than his current station on the left flank.
Arsenal’s next match is away at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, and Jurgen Klopp’s side’s fearsome intensity will mean that Arsenal can afford no passengers in their side.
The German side are 1/1 favourites to win the match, with the Gunners priced at 12/5 and the draw 13/5.
In his current form, Ozil is costing his side defensively without offering enough going forward, and Wenger has to consider replacing him with Oxlade-Chamberlain.