Arsenal fans have spotted Alexandre Lacazette wearing Mesut Ozil apparel as the Frenchman prepares for Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.
Ozil is a contentious figure among the Arsenal dressing room, with the German shipped out on a free transfer to Turkish side Fenerbahce in the January window after being frozen out of the team for almost a year.
Ozil started 10 Premier League matches under Mikel Arteta before lockdown last season. Then, coming out of lockdown, he was absent from a series of matchday squads.
He did not play another minute that season and was then left out of the Premier League and Europa League squads ahead of the current campaign.
Eventually, Ozil left the club in January, alongside a series of other senior players who have close ties with the German international.
Sead Kolasinac and Shkodran Mustafi, two of Ozil’s closer friends in the squad, joined Schalke, while Sokratis, who was frozen out alongside Ozil in the first half of the season, joined Olympiacos on a free transfer.
Matteo Guendouzi, who has spoken of Ozil’s influence on him, was also loaned out last summer after falling out with Arteta during the latter weeks of last season.
But that does not mean that Ozil’s influence has left the Arsenal dressing room entirely, as supporters noticed in this week’s training photos.
Ahead of Sunday’s crucial north London derby, Lacazette could be seen wearing an M10-branded bandage across his left fingers.
The Arsenal striker played alongside Ozil since his arrival in north London in 2017.
Some fans were a little surprised by his choice of apparel. “Who’s your 10 now?” one jokingly asked on Reddit. Another said: “Already an Odegaard fan I see.”
Other fans were not as concerned. “Probably got some that were given out by Mesut before he left lol not a big deal,” one concluded, to which another replied: “Mesut had a serious injury, maybe he’s showing support.
“Or maybe it’s true that Ozil was outcasted by Arsenal for comments about Uyghurs. Either way, [I] don’t see anything wrong with it if it’s a sign of support for Mesut.”
By signing up for our Arsenal newsletter, you will receive a once-daily email, focused around goings-on at Emirates Stadium.
You won’t miss a thing when it comes to the Gunners – you’ll get all you need to know directly into your inbox.
We’ll also send out special newsletters with any big breaking news too.
And with the January transfer window now open there’s plenty of content to get your teeth into.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Arsenal section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
And that’s it, you’re all set.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
For more details, click here.
Lacazette and Arsenal will be desperate to win on Sunday afternoon.
The Gunners currently sit seven points behind Spurs, meaning a win would make the final stages of the season interesting as they look to secure European football.
However, should they lose and slip 10 points behind their rivals, it could well lead to a fifth-straight season finishing below Spurs, something that was almost inconceivable during Arsene Wenger’s tenure.