Mikel Arteta’s recent comments offer some insight into his plans for Mesut Ozil now that the January transfer window is upon us.
The World Cup winner was frozen out at Arsenal at the start of the season, with Arteta opting against naming him in his Premier League and Europa League squads.
It was hoped that Ozil would leave Arsenal in the summer transfer window as a result of the brutal snub, and free up his £350,000-a-week wages.
But the German plans to remain in north London until his contract expires at the end of the season, which has put the cash-strapped Gunners in a difficult position.
Ozil’s insistence to remain at the Emirates, despite being able to play, means Arsenal are without a creative mind in the middle of the park.
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The January window has now opened, but Ozil still has no plans to leave.
Arteta, therefore, has a decision to make. Either continue leaving Ozil out in the cold, despite Arsenal’s obvious problems, or make a U-turn on his original decision.
The Spaniard has recently been talking about Ozil’s situation, and refused to rule out naming the German in his Premier League squad for the second half of the season.
“We will see what happens in the transfer window and we will assess at the end of that,” said the Arsenal boss. “You have to respect the players’ contracts. You can just try to be open with them, tell them your intentions, the role that they have in the team and why that is.
“Some would like to move because they are not playing and some would like to stay. That’s something we cannot decide by ourselves. When a player doesn’t play, it is really difficult to be happy.
“There are players that don’t play at all, they know they are not going to have any chance. That is tough mentally for them, to maintain that motivation and positivity around the place for a lot of months. That’s a big task.”
Arteta also played down Arsenal making a big signing in January, bolstering Ozil’s chances of a shock return.
“Every [new] player is going to need time to adapt,” added Arteta.
“It’s which qualities this player is bringing, what is the past of that player, where has he been, has he been in a different country, does he speak the language, is he familiar with a certain style of playing?
“There are a lot of conditions that, in my opinion. affect whether that player can have an immediate impact or not in a team. For me, there are really key things to consider before making any steps to bring anyone in in January.”
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