Mikel Arteta appears to have opened the door for Mesut Ozil to return to the Arsenal squad in January but claims a decision has not been made on the German’s future, reports dailymail.co.uk.
The Gunners are currently struggling in front of goal having scored just twice in their last seven league games, with German playmaker Ozil out of the Gunners’ 25-man squad for both the Premier League and the Europa League.
Arteta could re-register the 32-year-old in the January transfer window but would have to reshuffle his squad as they lie 15th in the top-flight table.
The Arsenal manager told the press before his side’s game with Burnley yesterday: “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.”
Ozil has not played for Arsenal since the coronavirus pandemic stopped the Premier League season in March. Arteta did not even name the midfielder on the bench even though Ozil was registered last season.
The 32-year-old is currently on a £350,000-a-week contract in north London, which ends at the end of this season, with Ozil set to leave the Gunners on a free transfer.
Ozil could even move in January with Turkish side Fenerbahce reportedly interested in the 32-year-old, with Inter Miami and LA Galaxy keeping tabs on the German’s situation.
Former Arsenal coach Freddie Ljungberg, who was an interim manager before Arteta arrived 12 months ago, does not understand why Ozil has been exiled and believes the German could help the Gunners’ woes in front of goal.
The Swede told Sky Sports this week: “When you have a player like that – and I don’t say he should play every single week – but when you have possession and you need to find that cute pass, I don’t think there are any better players than Mesut doing that.
“Of course you lose a bit defensively, but it’s a decision they’ve made. I don’t know why the decision’s been made and he’s outside the 25-man squad, so they can’t use him. But for those things, I don’t think there are much better in the world.”
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger also questioned Arteta’s decision to turn Ozil into an outcast.
The German midfielder was a fan favourite when Wenger was manager of the club but has failed to recapture his excellent form under the Frenchman’s successors, Unai Emery, and Arteta.
Wenger told ESPN this week: “He (Ozil) was not difficult to manage. He was a guy who had a special quality as a creative player and needed to have fun.
“He is an artist and these guys are a bit more sensitive. They need support and an environment that pushes them to give their best.
“You have two ways to see a football team. You get everybody to do the same. The same intensity of work, the same defensive work or you find a compromise,” he added.
“You have a more creative player in the team who can do less defensive work but you build a team around him who can compensate for these deficiencies. That is what you have to think about.”