Mesut Ozil has hit back at personal criticism from former Arsenal players and called for them to support the club.
The Gunners have endured a disappointing start to the new Premier League season, with Germany international Ozil one of the individuals regularly singled out for under-performing.
Emmanuel Petit, Martin Keown and Paul Merson are among the old Arsenal men to have questioned Ozil, while ex-Gunners striker Ian Wright has defended the 28-year-old.
Attacking midfielder Ozil has now had his say in a lengthy Facebook post on the fourth anniversary of his £42.5million arrival from Real Madrid.
“Personally I’ve had to accept a lot of criticism during my time in London. ‘Too expensive, too greedy, bad body language, and lacking fight’ – this is what people have said about me,” Ozil posted.
“Some of these comments are made by those who do not know me, some are made by former players – both successful and unsuccessful during their time here at the club.
“Although criticism is something that all football players have to deal with, I nevertheless expected legends to behave like legends – my advice to these former Gunners: stop talking and start supporting!”
Ozil has scored 32 goals in 164 appearances in all competitions since moving to the Emirates Stadium in 2013, but his contribution continues to divide opinion.
World Cup winner Petit criticised Ozil’s “defeatist attitude” following last weekend’s 4-0 defeat to Liverpool, while ex-England defender Keown felt the German had been “going through the motions” at Anfield.
Earlier this year, Merson claimed Ozil “doesn’t show up half the time”, although ex-striker Wright said constant criticism of the player “annoys” him.
Ozil, who is currently on international duty, admits he found it difficult when he first arrived in England but believes the current negative assessments are unfair.
“Although I initially struggled when coming to the Premier League, I accepted the challenge,” he added in the post.
“I started as a left-winger at the beginning, and in all honestly, I am not a great admirer of that position for myself – I’m better as a ‘number 10’. When playing in the centre I can control the game and generate chances.
“The Premier League is physically much more demanding than LaLiga or the Bundesliga.
“Furthermore, there is no winter break, meaning the season is extremely long and exhausting, especially when you are playing at European and National Team level too.”