Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is set for his first start since October in tomorrow's FA Cup fourth round clash with Brighton & Hove Albion, in a wide role which even Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has admitted is far from the German playmaker's first choice.
Ozil has taken his sweet time to recover from a medial knee ligament injury suffered against Chelsea more than three months ago, but did return with a brief cameo against Stoke City a fortnight ago and looked to have bulked up considerably.
Wenger will hope his £42.4 million man's new more muscular frame will help Arsenal fans finally see the best of a World Cup winner with considerable technical quality, whether that be in his favoured central role or out on the wing.
Ozil has bulked up during rehab
When asked about Ozil ahead of the Brighton clash Wenger insisted his formation will stay flexible enough to compliment Ozil's game, although he did concede the former Real Madrid maestro is far more at home in the conventional number 10 role.
Wenger told The Guardian: "I see him behind the striker or on the flank, where he doesn’t like to play. I prefer him central.
Article continues below
2015 could define Ozil's time at Arsenal
"In our team it’s very flexible anyway. When you play on the flank, you can move inside. We usually have one player who is more a winger and another more midfield.
“He has worked hard. He wants to be stronger and he had more time to focus in the gym on upper body work because he didn’t have to focus on the fatigue of games.”
Ozil's return to full fitness certainly gives Wenger an interesting selection dilemma, with both Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla finding top form in his absence.
Wenger must now try to get the very best from all three in the same system, a nice problem to have but a difficult task all the same.
His most expensive signing across nearly two decades in North London needs to play his part though, starting with blowing away the cobwebs against Brighton tomorrow wherever he's asked to play.