During the World Cup, I wrote about Mesut Ozil’s relationship with the German media, authorities and fans.
My opinion at the time was a simple one, that Ozil was continually singled out for Germany for criticism because he is different. That whilst the likes of Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich and Manuel Neuer continually escape criticism for poor performances, Ozil is criticised even when he does not play badly.
I felt at the time that due to the racist undertone of comments from the likes of Lothar Matthäus, that Ozil might call it a day with the German national team. And yesterday he did just that:
Mesut Ozil has won 92 caps for Germany. He is a World Cup winner. A 5 time German Footballer of the Year. He is clearly a class act.
The abuse of Ozil is similar to what Raheem Sterling gets in England.
It is not overtly racist, but when negative articles are written about you for buying a house for your mum, or going for breakfast the morning after a defeat, it creates a nasty little undertone.
We saw similar last week with Dean Saunders attack on Alexandre Lacazette for TalkSPORT.
The former Liverpool striker said Lacazette is more interested in fast cars and fur coats than playing football. That he needs to be more like Harry Kane and become more professional.
Taking into account that it is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that likes the fast cars and fur coats, the attack by Saunders had racist undertones.
It reinforced racial stereotypes that young, successful black men are flashy. That they are more interest in cars and coats than playing football. That they are simple not as professional as their white colleagues.
The attack came out of nowhere, and merely highlighted Dean Saunders prejudice and poor journalism
Ozil retiring for Germany will be a good thing for Arsenal. We just need to make sure we get around him, show him the love and support he needs so that he performs for us.
He has always been an emotional character. One that needs an arm around him, to be shown love to play well. He has never been one to be motivated by criticism.
Ozil is an Arsenal player. Let’s get behind him.
The second piece of Arsenal news over the weekend was Alex Iwobi.
Firstly it broke that Lazio were interested in signing him in a £20million deal, then it was that he had agreed a new contract until 2022.
When the first pice of news broke, many people were happy.
Iwobi is simply not rated by many fans. He has not really progressed from the timid teenager who looked like a deer in headlights when he first broke through.
Personally, I did not want him sold, I want to see him for another year under Unai Emery. But £20million is a lot to turn down. If a figure like that came in, I would accept.
A chat about racism again.
Some fans came out and claimed that other Arsenal wanting Iwobi sold was racist. Comparing it to the Jack Wilshere situation, even to the Ozil situation. This is just rubbish.
People wanted Iwobi to be sold because they felt he was not good enough. A perfectly valid opinion. It has nothing to do with his skin colour, or being born in Nigeria.
To a lot of the older generation, Rocky Rocastle was a hero. To my generation it was Thierry Henry. It reminds me of when that journalist claims that Highbury was a “no-go zone” in the early 2000’s.
It is lazy to always attack any criticism as racism.
If Iwobi does stay, I hope he kicks on. There is a good player in there, I am sure of it. He just needs the confidence in himself to realise that and break out.
He is 22 now, so a loan deal is not suitable.
With the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson pushing to break through, Iwobi needs to up his game if he wants to stay at Arsenal long term.