Arsenal legend Ian Wright has urged Mesut Ozil to show his commitment to the club after the German hit out at the criticism he had received from former Gunners stars.
He told BBC 5 Live (h/t Callum Davis of The Telegraph):
"Sign a contract, if you feel that strongly about people criticising the team because you're somebody who is integral to Arsenal's success.
"You're not signing a deal and you're probably going to continue to hide behind the fact that [Alexis] Sanchez is the one that everybody's going to say, 'Is he going to go?'
"Why haven't you signed yet? That's what I would say to you. If you feel that strongly, why haven't you signed yet?
"A player that is not actually performing on the pitch is coming out, calling people out and he's not signing a contract. It's laughable."
Ozil, who is in the final year of his Arsenal deal, posted to Instagram celebrating four years at the Emirates Stadium and also urged former players to "stop talking and start supporting:"
While he did not single out Ozil, Gunners legend Emmanuel Petit has also been critical of Arsenal's players recently, per Goal's Chris Wheatley:
Chris Wheatley @ChrisWheatley_
Emmanuel Petit: “Some of them do not seem to know what it means to wear that Arsenal shirt." https://t.co/r1Cl2hxAIO https://t.co/VOh2NSLxCq2017-9-3 13:04:07
There have long been question marks over Ozil's impact in big games, and his ineffectual performance during the humiliation at Anfield has renewed those doubts.
Bleacher Report's James McNicholas was unhappy with the German's contribution:
Just remember: you can't expect Ozil to score goals/tackle/try. That's #nothisgame.2017-8-27 16:03:44
James Benge of the Evening Standard further believes that despite the goals, assists and trophies Ozil has produced during his time at Arsenal, he is yet to truly shine in north London:
James Benge @jamesbenge
4 years 164 games 3 FA Cups 32 goals 57 assists Still feels like Arsenal are yet to see the very best of Mesut Ozil https://t.co/eJHQa0UcHp2017-9-2 11:07:03
The playmaker clearly possesses world-class talents—his vision and creativity are almost second to none—but his perceived mental fragility and lack of work rate have come to exemplify Arsenal in recent years.
Sports broadcaster and journalist Jaqui Oatley believes Ozil is unaware of the true depth of feeling behind the criticism dished out by former Arsenal stars:
Jacqui Oatley @JacquiOatley
Amused by Ozil’s criticism of ex-Arsenal players in the media. If only he realised how much they’re holding back on how they really feel!2017-9-4 10:57:46
Indeed, despite winning the FA Cup three times in the last four years, Arsenal are a shadow of the force they once were, when the likes of Wright and Petit were in their side.
Manager Arsene Wenger deserves his share of the criticism for that, but if Ozil wants the support of former stars, he and the other players must earn it through their actions on the pitch.
Off it, showing desire by signing a new deal wouldn't go amiss, though without improved performances it will mean relatively little.