Mesut Ozil has used his four-month injury layoff to bulk up in the gym to help him cope with the rigours of the Premier League, reports The Mail.
The Germany international was ruled out of action with a torn knee ligament in October, only making his anticipated return against Stoke City on Sunday. While he was not given enough to time to make an impact on proceedings, eagle-eyed fans at the Emirates Stadium saw a new man wearing the number 11 shirt.
Ozil appeared to fill his skintight Puma shirt much better than he did in his last Arsenal game against Chelsea. It looks as though he has gained significant weight, but not the kind Luke Shaw is packing; we're talking about the good stuff.
The Mail is claiming that Arsenal's record signing used his time out of the game almost exclusively in the gym at London Colney, building his upper body strength in the hope that it will improve his performance in the English game.
Having joined from Real Madrid in 2013, signing a £140,000-a-week contract, Ozil was under pressure to be Arsenal's best player right from the off. He hit the ground running with an assist in his first ten minutes, but has since drawn criticism for a number of sub-par displays.
His performance against Chelsea, in which Arsenal lost 2-0, was labelled as his worst in years by some, although it later came to light that he had suffered his serious knee injury during the game and played through the pain barrier.
There were still questions over whether Ozil could handle the physical nature of Premier League football having previously flourished in the less aggressive La Liga with Real Madrid. But his new workout routine has helped him add significant muscle to his upper body and should help him to bully defences.
Arsene Wenger claimed Ozil would take several weeks before he is back to full fitness but the same report suggests the Arsenal boss is considering starting him against Manchester City at the weekend.
Ozil hinted that he wouldn't start by telling reporters: "Of course I am not at 100 per cent, I only trained with the team once on Saturday, but I hope that I will be back at 100 per cent by the end of January."