Jermaine Pennant thinks new Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta should build his team around Mesut Ozil.
Ozil has the chance to breathe new life into his stuttering career at the Emirates with a new man at the helm.
The attacking midfielder was a peripheral figure under former boss Unai Emery and was also left out by caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg after he reacted angrily in a previous match.
Former Arsenal midfielder Pennant believes Ozil is still a player who the Gunners’ squad can be built around, however.
He told talkSPORT: “They should build it around Ozil – he’s got a new lease of life.
“When he first came he was a fantastic player; he was getting assists, scoring goals and everyone was raving about him.
“Then Arsene [Wenger] left and Emery came in and things went a little downhill for him. So now he’s got a new lease of life and hopefully Arsenal fans will see the Ozil from when he first came to the club.”
The 31-year-old has often been criticised for his apparent lethargic style of play but showed glimpses of his best as the Gunners were held 1-1 by Bournemouth in Arteta’s managerial debut.
“I saw him putting tackles in, I saw him chasing back and it was a different Ozil, a happy Ozil,” continued Pennant. “He’s not going to be a player who will put in massive 50/50 tackles and win them, your Roy Keanes, or anyone like that.
“Ozil is going to get the ball, spread play and open up the defence and slip the ball through for attacking players.
“You’ve got players like [Lucas] Torreira who will do the sitting, the holding and the tackling. He’s a luxurious player and Arteta is getting something out of him that Unai Emery didn’t get out of him.”
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Arteta has also been suitably impressed with Ozil both on and off the pitch since he was appointed as permanent boss just before Christmas.
Following the draw with Bournemouth in his first game in charge, Arteta said: “To be fair his attitude in training since the day that I walked in the building has been incredible, and I’ve seen this.
“I said I was going to give a clean slate to everybody and it was fair as well to give it to him.
“When we did the game preparation and we were watching the opponents, and where we could hurt them, we believed that he could be a key point. And we prepared the game like this, with him.
“He responded, he did what he had to do and we could have put two or three goals because of him in the net.”