Mikel Arteta has given the clearest indication yet that Mesut Ozil will not see much action in the upcoming season, saying it is difficult to see where the German midfielder will fit in his “evolving” squad.
The out-of-favour Gunners assists king failed to make the match day squad for the 2-0 Carabao Cup win over Leicester City, as other fringe players got a run.
After the match, Arteta said after the game how pleased he was with the attitude shown by both young and experienced players.
“I’m really happy with the performance, first of all the attitude and the way we approached the game mentally,” he said.
“The senior players took the lead straight away and I could see that they came here to win the game and after we’re so happy with all our young players, the way they’re developing and the way they played.”
Quizzed on the absence of Ozil, Arteta said:
“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. We need to keep maintaining that.
“I’m really happy with the performance here, how difficult they’re making things for the coaching staff to select the squad. We are picking the players that we believe are the best for each game. You can see we keep training, it’s what we’re trying to do.
“You can see that the players we are changing, we are using, it’s very difficult every week – not [just] for Mesut – but for some other players as well to make the squad. Every week we try to pick the right players.
“Of course I understand and I respect your questions, but I have to try to do my job as fair as possible. I try to select the players that are, in my opinion, in better condition,” Arteta said.
Despite clear indications that he is considered surplus to requirements, Ozil is expected to see out the remainder of his contract at the Emirates.
In a defiant interview with The Athletic recently, the 31-year-old dismissed any idea he will leave before his deal expires next June.
“My position is clear,” Ozil said. “I’m here through to the last day of our agreement and I’ll give everything I have for this club. I’ll decide when I go, not other people. I didn’t sign for two or three years, I signed for four and that should be respected by everyone.”