Bayer Leverkusen star Hakan Calhanoğlu has been nicknamed the new Mesut Özil according to Talksport but how similar is he in style to the Arsenal star.
There is a slight resemblance in terms of looks but they are hardly a spitting image. They were of course both born in Germany and are ethnic Turks but while Özil opted to represent his country of birth Çalhanoğlu chose the nation of his parents.
Çalhanoğlu is like Özil a playmaker although the Bayer youngster tends to have a more influential role taking just about every set-piece for his side.
Özil also is also a decent set-piece taker but Çalhanoğlu is widely regarded as being one of the best in the business with a phenomenal free-kick scoring record – 22 in the Bundesliga.
Çalhanoğlu has delivered the goods especially at Champions League level whereas Özil is often criticised for not bringing performing at his best in big games.
We are only two games into the 2015-16 Champions League campaign but whereas the Bayer playmaker has already scored twice and provided two assists in the competition – three goals if you count the playoff stages – this season while Özil is yet to register a single goal or assist. The 26-year-old has however, created 29 chances in contract to Çalhanoğlu’s five suggesting that the problem Arsenal have is actually converting opportunities.
Çalhanoğlu has an even more impressive record if you look at his past seasons providing a direct contribution to 12 goals (6 goals, 6 assists) in his 14 European games.
In their domestic leagues Özil has however, provided more assists (3) while Çalhanoğlu has more goals (1). The Arsenal star has also created more chances, completed more successful passes.
Özil has been criticised by none other than Arsene Wenger with regards to his goal scoring record; something Çalhanoğlu has never really had a problem with and it is not that surprising when you consider how many more shots he attempts than the Arsenal star.
Çalhanoğlu has performed better than Özil in the Champions League especially when you factor in that he is five years younger and that Bayer have played Barcelona and BATE. The Belarusians may not exactly be stellar competition but they have more European experience than Dinamo Zagreb.
The Gunners were beat by Olympiakos at the Emirates midweek – the Greek giants first win on English soil – and also lost to Zagreb. Meanwhile Bayer beat BATE 4-1 in their opening game and Barcelona had to mount a late comeback to beat the Bundesliga side 2-1 at the Camp Nou.
Comparing young players to older more established stars is usually counter productive as it puts unrealistic expectations and additional pressure on them but Çalhanoğlu could be the exception.