Mesut Ozil has been absent from Arsenal's fixtures since June and it looked like the German playmaker is not joining the squad anytime soon. Club boss Mikel Arteta said his priority in picking players for matches is top form and Ozil will not make the cut.
Arteta is off to a good start in the season and picked up three wins so far for the Gunners, and the victories were achieved without Ozil, who is the club's most expensive player, on the pitch. The Spaniard said the way his side plays will continue in the campaign, hinting that Ozil is unlikely to see action in the upcoming games.
When asked why Ozil is not playing for a long stretch, the boss said his squad is doing great even without the German and he has no plan to change that.
"The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving. This is where we are at the moment. We want to evolve more and play better and compete better," Goal reported Arteta as saying.
He added that as the manager, it is important to deploy the best players available in matches so it is his responsibility to "select players in better condition." On that, it is up to Ozil to prove he is in fine form and Arteta acknowledges that winning a spot on the first-team is tough.
Ozil and all the other Gunners will need to compete with 26 other roster members. From this pool, the coach will tap the regulars and the substitutes for playing time on the pitch. Arteta said the reality of dynamics should tell there will be players that will not be used.
For now, Ozil is on the reserved category and when he will be playing again is a question that Arteta is not answering. Suffice it to say that the 31-year-old is not in the condition that convinces the manager to give him playing time.
Despite his situation at Arsenal in which he's not on top of the pecking order, the likelihood of Ozil leaving the Emirates seemed out of the question. Metro said the German intends to see through the end of his contract even if he has to do it from the sidelines.
Reports suggest Ozil could leave this summer, with his possible destinations pointing to Turkey and the MLS in the United States, but the player insisted he is not going anywhere. His position will force Arsenal to continue paying for his weekly salary and Ozil will not even break a sweat.
The damage for Arsenal is thought to be £350,000 a week but Arteta doesn't seem to mind. The manager has taken the position that before Ozil, other players are in line to see action on the pitch.