Paul Merson has launched a powerful defence of Mesut Ozil insisting he would make Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette better players.

The German has been frozen out at Arsenal after Mikel Arteta opted to omit him from his Premier League and Europa League squads.

Ozil has struggled for game time since Arsene Wenger left the club in 2018 with Arteta and Unai Eemry struggling to accommodate him.

Despite his obvious quality the World Cup winner has regularly been criticised for his lack of work off the ball.

But Merson is adamant that the Gunners would benefit from having Ozil in their starting XI.

Mikel Arteta has not found a place in his team for Mesut Ozil

“How would he not get in that team?" he said on Gillette Soccer Saturday.

“They have no guile in midfield. If I’m a forward, an Aubameyang or a Lacazette, I need Ozil in the team. I’m only as good as the players who give me the ball.”

Arsenal's forwards have struggled to fire this season with Aubameyang drawing particular criticism for his output since signing a new deal in the summer.

Arteta has overseen the club's worst start to a Premier League campaign.

And Merson has labelled Arsenal a "bottom half team" without Ozil as a regular starter.

The German's contract is up in the summer

He added: “You can make runs all day long, but if you haven’t got that guile or vision to put the ball through, you’re never going to score goals.

"If it doesn’t happen (Ozil returns), they’ll be a bottom half team.

“Ozil has to play, don't worry about his wages or running around. Just give him the ball and get other people to run around, and that’s how you get results.

“If you ask Mourinho tomorrow he would rather Ozil not play than play. If he saw him on the team-sheet that would wreck everything.

“He then thinks ‘I’ve got come out. I can’t just have everybody behind the ball because Ozil will find a pass before the game’s out, and people will make runs when he’s got the ball.”

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