Mikel Arteta says he is only focusing on the players available to him now, but did not rule out an Arsenal return for Mesut Ozil.
Ozil has not played since lockdown after being frozen out of the Arsenal squad. He has not been included in their squad list for the Premier League or Europa League this season.
That has been a controversial decision, and Arteta may be wishing he had Ozil available as his side continue to struggle for creativity. Indeed, the Gunners boss has already admitted to his “hurt” over the 32-year-old’s continued absence.
Arsenal are currently without a win in their last five Premier League games. They have only scored once in that time.
If he was at his peak, Ozil could help them resolve those issues. However, Arteta cannot use him until January at the earliest.
Even then, he may decide against calling Ozil up into his squad again. The club could also opt to sell him before his contract expires next summer.
The only problem with that would be finding a buyer willing to pay a transfer fee six months before he would be available for nothing. Any bidder would also have to take on his huge wages – which has led some to warn others away from signing him.
Ozil reportedly earns a staggering £350,000 per week, which is putting a strain on Arsenal’s finances. However, if they had him available on the pitch, he may be able to prove his worth.
Hence, Arsenal have a big decision to make about the midfielder – but Arteta is not committing to one yet.
The manager said of Ozil: “He’s not in the squad right now. I’m focusing just on the players we have here.
“But, whatever happens in January, we have some time to decide.”
Has Ozil done anything wrong?
Last month, outspoken Watford striker Troy Deeney criticised Arsenal for their decision on Ozil.
“I think his career at Arsenal is done, personally,” Deeney told talkSPORT. “I don’t see how he can come back from it, especially when you’re seeing him so much more active on social media, I think he’s mentally checked out as well.
“It’s a shame. I said last week, and I got battered for it, that he’s one of the best players I’ve played against.”