'One of the best players in the world', according to Wenger
By Diane Cooke
Mesut Özil is a German footballer who plays for Arsenal and the national team.
The midfielder emerged as one of soccer's rising stars during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and his three years with Spanish club Real Madrid.
Özil was the joint-highest assist provider at both the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012, registering three at each tournament.
After beginning his professional soccer career with FC Schalke 04, he emerged as a star midfielder for SV Werder Bremen and the German national team.
Özil's international success secured him a prominent role with Real Madrid before announcing his transfer to Arsenal in 2013, for a record fee of £42.5 million, the highest fee ever paid for a German player.
The 25-year-old playmaker blew hot and cold during his debut season at Arsenal and he's come in for a lot of criticism.
In October, Arsene Wenger defended Ozil as "one of the best players in the world". The Gunners boss said that he “genuinely” believed Ozil wanted to stay, but warned that he might sell both him and Sanchez if they did not finally commit to a new contract before the January transfer window opened. He was also unwilling to draw any correlation between the recent good results at that time – notably Arsenal’s resilience at Chelsea – and Ozil’s unavailability.
Ozil got a lot of flak after Arsenal's 4-0 thrashing by Liverpool. His response was to urge club legends to "stop talking and start supporting". His poor display reopened the debate over his big-game record. The German was singled out by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville for his failure to track back in the build-up to Liverpool's second goal, and many supporters were similarly unimpressed.
Ozil was brought to the Emirates Stadium to help the bridge the gap between Arsenal and the Premier League's best, but memorable individual performances against the top six have been infrequent. He shone in Arsenal's 3-0 home wins over Manchester United and Chelsea in 2015/16 and 2016/17, but more often than not he has struggled to make an impact.
Laziness is one of the most common criticisms levelled at Ozil. His body language can make him appear detached and disinterested, and his tendency to throw up his arms in frustration when he loses possession frequently causes consternation among fans and pundits.
Ozil has addressed the issue, saying: "Some people like me, some people don't. Some people look at my body language and think I don't care. But that's me. I won't change my body language or my style of play drastically anymore."
Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, insists Ozil's body language is deceptive. "He is a guy who works much harder than people think, but his body language goes against him sometimes."
The grandson of a Turkish immigrant, Ozil developed his soccer skills alongside friends in the "Monkey Cage," a local pitch surrounded by fences. After playing for a series of smaller youth programs, he joined the pipeline of Gelsenkirchen's FC Schalke 04 in 2005.
In March last year, he got engaged to stunning Miss Turkey Amine Gulse. Alongside her modelling work, Amine has starred on Turkish television series Asla Vazgecmem.
But both she and Ozil and have been spotted wearing engagement rings. They also reportedly visited two leading hotels in Istanbul to consider them as possible wedding party locations.
Ozil is believed to be ready to spend £5million on a mansion in the city.