Wenger backs Ozil to match Bergkamp
Manager Arsene Wenger feels club-record signing Mesut Ozil could have as big an impact as Dennis Bergkamp did when he joined Arsenal.
The German playmaker's departure from Real Madrid in a £43million deal on transfer deadline day was something of a coup for the Gunners boss, who had been under fire for not spending big on star names to help bolster the squad's ambitions for a long-overdue Barclays Premier League title challenge.
The arrival of Holland forward Bergkamp from Inter Milan in 1995 heralded Arsenal's rise to becoming the dominant force in the English game, and Wenger accepts there are similarities between the two deals and what they mean for the club.
"It is comparable because they are similar players in the same department and they are big names who come from big teams," Wenger told Arsenal Player.
"You must say as well that Ozil was not perceived as being a failure at Real Madrid, he was perceived by the whole world as being a huge success at Real Madrid so of course the noise made by a signature like that is big."
Wenger continued: "They (people) were questioning my desire to spend money, maybe the ambition as well because today the ambition is linked with the amount of money you spend.
"We are very ambitious, we went through a few years where we had less resources and there is no shame to say that because we have built a new stadium. Now we are back with the ambition as big as everybody else, if not bigger."
Madrid's decision to let Ozil go was greeted by disbelief from his former team-mates at the Bernabeu, with the midfielder no longer central to the plans of manager Carlo Ancelotti following the world-record signing of Gareth Bale from Tottenham.
Wenger is in no doubt the Germany international can take his game to another level with Arsenal.
He told a press conference: "Ozil is already a great player. There is room now between 25 and 30 for him to become a dominant player and to make a step up from that.
"There are many players who are very, very good that make the step to being great. You have to find the right club at the right moment, having the mental dedication that is the major difference now."
With Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky sidelined by a hamstring injury suffered on international duty, Ozil could well go straight into the side at Sunderland on Saturday.
Captain Thomas Vermaelen may be included in the squad after resuming training following his back problem, but may well be kept in reserve for next week's Champions League opener away to Marseille.
Sunderland have yet to win in the Premier League, as Paolo Di Canio's new-look squad takes time to settle.
Wenger, though, is not expecting an easy time on Wearside.
"With the history of last season, and how the new season has started, you know that everywhere you need to be at your best," he said.
"It is always tricky after national team games to get the same focus back very quickly. The job will be to get everybody to recover physically, mentally - because some players had disappointments - to get them focused again on the club results."
Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner, meanwhile, continues his rehabilitation with Arsenal, after Wenger blocked a transfer away.
The Gunners boss, though, believes the 25-year-old - who spent last season on loan at Juventus - can make an impact for his side with the right approach.
"I had a chat with him because I blocked his move. I wanted him to stay in the end because I felt that we were short up front, that (Yaya) Sanogo might need a few months to adapt," Wenger said on the club's official website.
"As well as that Nicklas Bendtner, with the right state of mind and the right focus, has the quality to help the squad to win things.
"He is an honest guy. We want complete commitment and focus from him and he promised that.
"Nicklas Bendtner, with complete focus and commitment, will be a very strong player in our squad."