Mesut Ozil wants to put all talk of his future on hold until the summer as he looks to help Arsenal qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Speculation over Ozil’s plans has been ongoing for months as his current contract at the Emirates Stadium has a little over a year remaining.
The German World Cup winner is in the same contractual position as the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Both Ozil and Sanchez are reportedly holding out for parity with the Premier League’s top earners but an alarming slide in form could also put paid to them agreeing fresh terms with the Gunners.
Arsenal have lost seven of their last 12 games in all competitions, including a 10-2 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Their domestic form has left Arsenal sixth in the Premier League, seven points off the top four, and has seen the pressure on manager Arsene Wenger ramp up.
Wenger himself is out of contract at the end of this season and has yet to announce whether he will sign a new deal amid protests against him doing so.
With such turmoil on the pitch, Ozil wants to leave his contract situation out of the picture and instead focus on getting back on track and continuing Wenger’s record of finishing in the top four in all of his full seasons at the helm.
“At the moment it would be wrong to think about that,” he said about a new contract at Arsenal.
“The team are having a more difficult spell and at this stage I am not important, no other player is important, what is important is the club.
“We’ve got aims we want to meet this season, there is still lots for us to play for. We still desperately want to qualify for the Champions League for next season as well.
“We will talk in the summer and clear things then but at the moment what is important is Arsenal, not me or any other players.”
Arsenal’s record signing, Ozil joined the club from Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 and once again reiterated Wenger was one of the attractions as he said the under-fire Frenchman “deserves respect” for what he has done in nearly 21 years in charge.
“As a player you cannot pick your coach,” he told Sky Sports News.
“You cannot decide who manages the club, I always said he was the most important factor in me coming here. He has been here for 20 years and has given a lot to this club and I think he deserves respect for what he has achieved here.”
A symbol of decline
Arsenal’s struggles have been summed up by Ozil’s own form of late. He scored and provided an assist in a rare positive for the club in last week’s 3-0 win over West Ham.
But the 28-year-old has too often been on the periphery of big games, leading to criticism from pundits and a section of Arsenal fans.
“I don’t really pay too much attention to what the experts say,” Ozil said of any of his critics.
“It comes down to maybe not seeing all of my statistics, maybe my style sometimes does make it look like I’m not 100 per cent there, giving my absolute everything.
“But that is my body language, that is the way I have always been. That is the way I am and I won’t change that. I always give 100 per cent, I always fight for everything.
“Of course, in some stages you can be annoyed when things go wrong on the pitch.
“You can express frustration but there is no player, especially not me, who will go out and give 90 per cent and not give everything or think ‘we are going to lose today, what is the point, I will hold myself back’.
“That doesn’t happen at all so the important thing is not to let your head go down.”