Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker is confident the club will see the best of compatriot Mesut Ozil next season.
The German international midfielder has shown flashes of brilliance since moving to the Emirates Stadium from Real Madrid in the summer of 2013, but has struggled to show the consistency expected of a player costing over £40million.
Injuries have played their part on his progress under Arsene Wenger, but Mertesacker believes if the Gunners can keep Ozil fit throughout the forthcoming campaign then it will be his best yet in north London.
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“He is one of our key players. Him in good fitness, him at his best - there’s a lot more to come from him and the second part of last season when he came back from injury, you could see how important he is for us as a team with his key passes, being in between the lines and always carrying a threat to the opponent," the centre-back told Arsenal player.
“We need to find him and make him better, then he can show his real potential. The key will be not to get any injuries or niggles.
He’s a good player when he’s fully fit but obviously he needs to gain that little extra, that confidence, to play his best."
Predicting big things
The Arsenal vice-captain concluded his interview by predicting big things from Ozil next season, and the club's supporters will be hoping he's immediately down to business when they face Chelsea in the FA Community Shield and West Ham in the first game of the Premier League season.
“I’m pretty confident that he has his best and his first full season in front of him.”
Mertesacker was speaking from the Gunners' pre-season base in Singapore following the impressive 4-0 win over a 'Select XI', with Chuba Akpom scoring a hat-trick and Jack WIlshere netting a penalty.
They face Everton in the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy on Saturday, and Ozil will be hoping to make an impact on the back of his teammate's positive comments.