Mesut Ozil's Arsenal debut - Who played for the Gunners and where are they now?

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It took the German just 11 minutes to grab his first ever assist for the Gunners in a 3-1 win at Sunderland

It's been almost 10 years since Mesut Ozil first walked out onto a pitch as an Arsenal player.

The excitement that the German's arrival from Real Madrid generated in the summer of 2013 was off the charts and his debut - against Sunderland on September 14 - did little to quell that excitement.

Ozil took just 11 minutes to mark his debut with a customary assist, setting up Olivier Giroud for the opening goal at the Stadium of Light.

Arsenal went on to the win the game 3-1, with Aaron Ramsey bagging a second half double to secure all three points for Arsene Wenger's side.

But who was in the Arsenal team when Ozil graced the Premier League for the first time and where are they now? On the day that he announced his retirement from football, GOAL takes a look.

  1. GK: Wojciech Szczesny

    GK: Wojciech Szczesny

    Having broken into the first-team at the age of just 20, it looked like Szczesny was going to be Arsenal No.1 for years to come.

    The academy graduate, who joined the club from Legia Warsaw in 2010, was hugely popular - both with his team-mates and the Arsenal fans.

    But he lost his way through a dip in form and more importantly a breakdown in his relationship with Arsene Wenger.

    The final straw came when Szczesny was caught smoking in the showers following a defeat at Southampton in 2015.

    Wenger was furious and the keeper was soon sent out on loan to Roma in Italy for two years.

    He joined Juventus permanently in 2017, replacing the legendary Gianluigi Buffon and is still with the Serie A giants to this day.

  2. RB: Carl Jenkinson

    RB: Carl Jenkinson

    The boy who lived his dream!

    Jenkinson will always be a bit of a cult hero at Arsenal because he achieved what every fan dreams of. Playing for the team he supported as a boy.

    The right-back was an Arsenal fanatic growing up and still used to go and watch as many games as he could while he was coming through the ranks at Charlton.

    So when Arsene Wenger came knocking in 2011, Jenkinson was never going to say no.

    He went on to spend eight years at Arsenal before leaving for Nottingham Forest. He is currently playing his football in Australia with Newcastle Jets.

  3. CB: Bacary Sagna

    CB: Bacary Sagna

    The Frenchman was filling in at centre-back at the Stadium of Light due to the absence of Per Mertesacker.

    One of the best defensive signings made by Arsene Wenger during the Emirates Stadium era, Sagna was a revelation in North London.

    He spent seven years with the Gunners before becoming somewhat disillusioned over the club’s decision to delay contract talks.

    Sagna then moved to Manchester City, where he spent three years.

    He then had spells with Benevento in Italy and Montreal Impact in MLS before calling time on his playing career.

    The Frenchman now spends a lot of his time doing business in Dubai. He also works as a football pundit on television. 

  4. CB: Laurent Koscielny

    CB: Laurent Koscielny

    It might not have ended well for Koscielny at Arsenal, but there’s no doubt he was a stalwart for the Gunners during his nine-year stay.

    The Frenchman’s exit was certainly controversial, however, when he refused to travel on the 2019 pre-season tour in a bid to force through a move to Bordeaux.

    Ultimately, he did get his move and that soured how his time at Arsenal is viewed by some fans.

    Koscielny’s spell with Bordeaux was not a relatively successful one, with injuries limiting his game time.

    He left in January, 2022, and retired from football two months later.

  5. LB: Kieran Gibbs
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    LB: Kieran Gibbs

    An academy graduate who went on to make more than 200 appearances for Arsenal.

    Gibbs established himself as first choice Arsenal’s left-back in 2011, following on from Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy.

    He won three FA Cups before joining West Brom in 2017.

    Gibbs had been playing for MLS side Inter Miami having made the move to America in March, 2021 although appears to have ended his playing career in 2023.

  6. CM: Mathieu Flamini

    CM: Mathieu Flamini

    Ever heard the story of the footballer who transformed himself into a multi-millionaire entrepreneur?

    No, we are not talking about David Beckham. It is in fact Mathieu Flamini.

    The former midfielder - who enjoyed two spells with Arsenal before retiring in 2019 - now has a wealth estimated at around €20 million (£16.7m/$21.7m) and is the co-founder of GF Biochemicals.

    It’s the first company in the world to mass-produce levulinic acid, which is regarded as potentially being key in the production of more environmentally friendly biofuels.

    It can also be used in biodegradable herbicides, plus in several other household items, like air fresheners and perfumes, as well as in plastics and pharmaceuticals.

  7. CM: Jack Wilshere

    CM: Jack Wilshere

    An Arsenal legend.

    Injuries may have stopped Wilshere reaching anywhere near his full potential, but the former midfielder will always be a part of Arsenal folklore.

    From his magical display against Barcelona to his goal of the season against Norwich, Wilshere enjoyed some outstanding moments with his boyhood club.

    He left for West Ham in 2018 but is now back with the Gunners after retiring from playing.

    Wilshere is currently Under-18s coach at Arsenal as he starts out on a new coaching career.

  8. AM: Mesut Ozil
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    AM: Mesut Ozil

    The star of the show.

    Ozil made his debut at the Stadium of Light and started as he meant to go on, grabbing an assist within 11 minutes.

    It was the first of 77 assists he would make during an eight-year Arsenal career which eventually came to an end in frosty circumstances in 2021.

    Ozil had been frozen out by manager Mikel Arteta and hadn’t even been registered for the club’s 2021/22 Premier League squad.

    In the end an agreement was reached to terminate his contract early, allowing him to join Fenerbahce, his boyhood club.

    There was no fairytale ending for Ozil at Fenerbahce, however, with the playmaker again finding himself surplus to requirements following the arrival of manager Jorge Jesus.

    He once again had his contract terminated early and, after joining Istanbul Basaksehir in 2022 and making just four league appearances, has since announced his retirement.

  9. RW: Theo Walcott
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    RW: Theo Walcott

    One of a select group of players who can say they scored more than 100 goals for Arsenal.

    He won three FA Cups during his time with the club, scoring the opening goal in the 2015 final against Aston Villa.

    Often under-rated, he left in 2018 to join Everton for £20m. 

    He is now back with Southampton, the club Arsenal signed him from as a 16-year-old in 2006.

  10. LW: Aaron Ramsey
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    LW: Aaron Ramsey

    Ozil may have been the headline act at the Stadium of Light, but it was Ramsey who stole the show with two second half goals.

    That was an indicator of what was to come from the Welshman in 2013/14.

    He enjoyed a sensational season that culminated in him scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup final, ending Arsenal’s eight-year wait for a major trophy.

    Ramsey would go on to win a further two FA Cups, again scoring the winner in the 2017 final, before leaving for Juventus in 2019.

    His spell in Italy was not a good one, however, and after a brief stint with Rangers, he now plays for Nice in France.

  11. CF: Olivier Giroud
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    CF: Olivier Giroud

    There are few players who have a CV that can even get close to Olivier Giroud.

    He has won the World Cup, the Champions League, the Europa League, four FA Cups and Serie A.

    The striker scored more than 100 goals for Arsenal and is France’s all-time scorer, ahead of Thierry Henry. He also won the Puskas award in 2017.

    At 35, he is still going strong for AC Milan in Serie A.

  12. Sub: Thomas Vermaelen

    Sub: Thomas Vermaelen

    Vermaelen’s early impact at Arsenal was huge, but injuries soon started to become an all too familiar occurrence.

    Those injuries would plague him throughout his whole career, which came to an end in January 2022 after spending two years in Japan with Vissel Kobe.

    The centre-back was at Arsenal between 2009 and 2014 before leaving for Barcelona. 

    He had five injury hit years at the Camp Nou prior to his move to Japan.

    Vermaelen had been working as assistant coach with the Belgian national team prior to Roberto Martinez's departure.

  13. Sub: Nacho Monreal
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    Sub: Nacho Monreal

    Monreal was an immensely popular player at Arsenal.

    You just have to look at the reaction to his retirement to see the impact he made during his time in North London.

    After arriving in 2013, he left six years later to join Real Sociedad with three FA Cups to his name.

    Monreal spent three years with Sociedad before hanging up his boots in the summer of 2022.

  14. Sub: Chuba Akpom
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    Sub: Chuba Akpom

    The striker never really made the grade at Arsenal, but has had some good times since leaving the club in 2018.

    After joining PAOK in 2018, Akpom played a key role in helping the Greek side win their first league title in 34 years.

    He is currently with Championship side Middlesbrough.