The quite delightful and very handsome Robert Pires says something has clicked in Mesut Ozil’s head and believes Arsenal’s midfield maestro is now worthy of comparison to the legendary Dennis ‘Iceman’ Bergkamp.
The German World Cup winner has scored seven goals in 14 appearances since August and needs just one more goal to equal his best season tally in a Gunners shirt – form that has Arsenal firing and Pires purring.
“Something has clicked,” Pires said. “What’s happened in the head is like a click because he’s scored a lot of goals.
“This is a difference between the last season with Mesut Ozil and now because he’s thinking just for himself and sometimes when you are in front of the target it is very important to score a goal.
“Mesut Ozil has very good qualities, he can normally score a minimum of 12 goals during the Premier League so in my time the maestro was Dennis Bergkamp, and now it is Mesut Ozil.
“I love them both because they play very good football but they play for the team. Not for himself, they play for the team. This point is very important for the future and of course for Arsenal.”
High praise indeed from a player who knew how to convert chances in and around the box.
For his part, Ozil credits the nagging of his manager for a newfound willingness to sniff out goals.
“The manager wants me to score lots of goals,” he told Arsenal Player. “He sees in training that when I have a chance, the ball mostly goes in.
“When we train on finishing, he sees that I score lots of goals. He knows that I’m ice-cold in front of goal and he wants to see that in matches.
“I’m doing that now – I go forward and, while I haven’t changed my game, I’m focusing on scoring goals myself too.
“Every year he comes to me says, ‘You need to score more than 10 goals this season – that needs to be your aim because you have the quality’. I’m trying to take that on.”