Mesut Ozil is no stranger to personal criticism from the Spanish media. When he was in the process of leaving Real Madrid, there were many stories about the German international’s private life impacting upon his football, much of it seemingly encouraged by a desire to make a sale look a good idea.
Several senior Real Madrid players were against Ozil moving to Arsenal, and spoke publicly about missing the player, and perhaps to counter that argument there were efforts to make the footballer seem unprofessional.
Over the past week or so, Ozil has been picked out as first alternative to Philippe Coutinho for Barcelona. With Liverpool refusing to play ball, a whole series of claims have been made about talks, a deal being close, and pros and cons have been wheeled out.
It’s worth keeping in mind all the Catalan transfer claims may have very little in them, given how many are actually made, so a huge response isn’t necessary from those who would be wary about signing Ozil.
That hasn’t stopped Josep Casanovas. In his ‘truths’ column on Sunday, Ozil is very much a target.
‘No one disputes his technical qualities, his status as a high-level footballer. What we doubt about Ozil is his professionalism, his attitude, his lifestyle outside the stadiums. He prefers nightclubs to gyms, doesn’t give up smoking and is also a friend of alcohol. He didn’t triumph in Madrid precisely because of his unruly life and has not provided what was hoped for at Arsenal, who are wanting to get him out.’
Casanovas believes signing Ozil represents ‘too much risk’ for Barcelona, and there’s comparisons made with Arda Turan, with both men said to want the income from football but no longer being prepared to give everything in return.
If Ozil is the man Casanovas describes him as, then there’d be far more coverage, and tangible evidence of it, than there has been in England so far. Ask Jack Wilshere.