West Ham United risk repeating the errors made by Manuel Pellegrini in 2018 by adhering to Carlton Cole’s suggestions of signing Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil.
Speaking on talkSPORT (22/10, 08:15), Cole suggested he would happily welcome Ozil to the London Stadium after the 32-year-old was omitted from Arsenal’s 25-man Premier League squad.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has conceded he feels guilty of failing the German after overlooking the 2014 World Cup winner for his confirmed squads in both the Premier League and Europa League, but stated that “it is just a football decision”.
Ozil has not featured for the Emirates Stadium natives since March 7 and has not been named in any of Arsenal’s matchday squads this term, with Arteta happy to persist without the £350,000-per-week midfielder the Gunners signed for a then club-record £42.4m in 2013.
But the situation is not one Ozil is willing to just walk away from, having stated that he will see out the final year of his contract.
“Things have been difficult but I love Arsenal,” he told The Athletic. “I’ll decide when I go, not other people.”
Ozil’s situation has not prevented Cole from suggesting the midfielder would suit the calibre of players West Ham have sought to sign in recent years.
“Of course, of course,” Cole told talkSPORT when asked if he’d sign Ozil. “West Ham have always liked those kind of players, those magician-like players. Arsenal would have benefitted from having him in their squad, but he clearly doesn’t fit in at the moment.”
Once upon a time, Ozil was one of the best attacking midfielders in the world and has enjoyed a trophy-laden career with Real Madrid and Arsenal, featuring glory in La Liga, the Spanish Cup and the FA Cup.
But the days where the 32-year-old flourished are well behind him, leading former Gunners boss Unai Emery to drop the German and Arteta to do likewise after Ozil earned a reprieve during Freddie Ljungberg’s spell as caretaker boss last season.
Altogether, Ozil managed to record just three assists across all competitions last term, adding to three in 2018/19 after 14 in 17/18, and would arrive at the London Stadium far from match fit if West Ham were able to fulfil Cole’s desires and reach an agreement with the FC Schalke 04 product.
Ozil would also stand to demand a lucrative contract given his career despite the events which have developed in north London, something West Ham would be wise to avoid or risk repeating the mistakes Pellegrini made in signing Jack Wilshere in 2018.
The Chilean went against the Irons board in acquiring the Englishman following his release by Arsenal and handing him a three-year, £100,000-per-week contract, with the Hammers hierarchy reluctant to lock themselves into paying vast sums to a player who boasted frequent injuries.
West Ham had hoped to sign Wilshere only to a one-year deal, and were proven right earlier this summer when they agreed to mutually terminate his contract 12-months early after just 19 games for the club thanks to a groin injury and multiple ankle issues.
If West Ham learnt anything from Wilshere’s time at the club, they would know better than swooping in to salvage the twilight years of Ozil’s career – no matter what the German once brought to the field.