Former Arsenal striker Nwankwo Kanu has told Unai Emery to stop trying to make Mesut Ozil defend – because he can’t.
With Arsene Wenger finally having departed the Emirates after 22 years in charge at Arsenal, Unai Emery has the unenviable task of trying to follow one of the longest-serving managers in Premier League history.
However, unlike when David Moyes took over Sir Alex Ferguson’s title-winning Manchester United side in 2013, Emery has a lot more work to do, with the Gunners having been on a slide for over a decade.
One of the main areas for concern for the Spaniard is the clubs defence, which had long been an area of weakness under his predecessor. We know from his time at Sevilla and PSG that Emery wants his team to both attack and defend as a unit, and has earlier this week reminded Mesut Ozil of his defensive responsibilities.
However, former Arsenal striker Kanu has told Emery that he should make an exception for the German and just allow him to be the creative playmaker.
Kanu told The Sun: “Every player is different. What you need is his strengths, not his weaknesses. He can work on his weaknesses but you can’t change him.
“Either you accept him or you let him go. You don’t want Maradona or Messi to go back and defend, you want them to go and do what they know how to do.
“If it’s a style of play, the coach has to accommodate that and make room for Mesut to play in that manner. I don’t know why people are still complaining a lot about him.”