Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has compared Mesut Özil to footballing legend Zinedine Zidane after making a great early impression in the Premier League.
Özil was signed from Real Madrid, where Zidane is the sporting director, in the summer for around £42 million which was Arsenal's first mega money purchase for a number of years as the north London club look to end a cycle of eight years without a trophy.
Despite the large price-tag, the German has impressed at The Emirates Stadium. The 25-year-old has featured 24 times in League and cup action and has notched five goals alongside a further nine assists.
The 52-cap international has been hailed as one of the key factors behind Arsenal's success in the first half of the season, they head into Saturday's fixture with Fulham top of the Premier League having already reached the Champions League knockout phase.
After winning the German player of the year award for the third year running, Wenger said that Özil has already won the respect of his teammates.
"He is very much appreciated by his team-mates," Wenger noted in the matchday programme for the visit of the Cottagers.
"That's a real compliment you can get when you are a football player.
"For me it is a bit like Zidane when he played for Madrid, all the other players said he was the best.
"You want first to be recognised by people who do the same job as you, and I think that is the biggest compliment that you can get.
"You would speak with everybody who plays in this team, they always rate him very highly."
Zidane gained a world class reputation as player with a style similar to that of Ozil. The French midfielder had successful spells at Madrid, where he won the Champions League, and Juventus in his prime.
He also scored two goals in the World Cup final in 1998 as his country went on to beat Brazil.
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