Mikel Arteta says the arrival of Mesut Ozil has had a "huge impact" on Arsenal this season.
Speaking with Peter Fraser of Sky Sports ahead of the Gunners’ Champions League clash Wednesday with Napoli, Arteta sung the praises of his midfield colleague, who arrived from Real Madrid on transfer deadline day.
The Spanish midfielder said:
The arrival of Mesut Ozil has had a huge impact. It sent a message to other teams about us which has made a psychological impact on the pitch. He is someone on the pitch who can win the game by himself. The more players you have like that the better chance we have to win the games. He is a very special player.
Ozil has played an integral role in Arsenal’s renaissance this season. The German has bagged five goals and created a further eight since joining the North London outfit for a club-record £42.4 million, via BBC Sport.
Arsene Wenger’s ability to secure such a marquee signing restored Arsenal fans’ faith in the Frenchman, who had previously prided himself on developing youth and finding bargains in the market.
Eight years have passed since Wenger’s charges last brought silverware back to the Emirates, but they are in prime position in both the league and the Champions League heading into a busy Christmas period.
The Gunners currently sit five points clear of their closest challengers, Liverpool and Chelsea, in the Premier League, and they head to Napoli with the guarantee that they can lose by two goals and still advance to the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
There is now some much needed competition for places in Arsenal’s talented midfield, and the signing of Ozil appears to have raised the level of those around him like Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky.
As Arteta points out, the mental impact of the German’s signing has been just as important as his performances on the pitch.