Former Arsenal star Nacho Monreal has been lifting the lid about Mesut Ozil, Arsene Wenger, Unai Emery and the problems faced by each of them towards the end of his time at the Emirates Stadium.
The full-back was speaking to FourFourTwo in the latest issue, which focuses on the new era in north London led by Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Aaron Ramsdale and others. But the current good feeling around London Colney is a stark contrast to the end of Monreal's time in the Premier League.
The Spaniard was a mainstay of Wenger's era, eventually leaving during Unai Emery's reign at the club – and says that actually, his fellow Spaniard had an underrated time at the Gunners.
“Emery was weighed down by the post-Wenger period, as would have happened to anyone,” agrees Nacho Monreal, his former left-back. “I think Unai had a great season. We didn’t get into the Champions League because we messed up down the stretch. But he took us to the Europa League final against Chelsea.
“The first half was good, but in the second half we were deflated. The team was getting back on track, but everything went wrong afterwards.”
One of the biggest controversies in that final came when Mesut Ozil was substituted, with the German sulking and walking slowly off the pitch to much dismay from the travelling faithful. Arsenal's former record signing managed to outstay Emery at the club, too, eventually having his contract terminated under Mikel Arteta's stewardship, with Monreal noting the problems that Ozil had with his colleagues to FFT.
“Ozil’s problem is that he had problems with everyone,” shrugs Monreal. “It ended badly with Wenger, he didn’t play the last few games with him, then Emery tried to bring him back and make him our leader.
“To begin with, he gave him a lot of confidence and Mesut played a lot, but the coach understood there were other teammates who were in better condition. Ozil was one of the best players in the team, one of the best paid, but they saw he wasn’t at the level required.
“As a person, he was good with everyone, but he also missed a lot of games through injury.”
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. Over his time on the brand, he has interviewed the likes of Aaron Ramsdale and Jack Wilshere, written pieces ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career, and has been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals, working for FFT.