Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will name his 25-man Europa League squad for the upcoming campaign on Thursday, with both Mesut Özil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos expected to miss out.
Neither player has managed a single minute of action this season, having both been outcast amid the Gunners' summer transfers. Thomas Partey, Willian and even the returning Mohamed Elneny have taken minutes from Özil, while Gabriel Magalhães has been a regular starter at the back.
The size of Arsenal's current squad (and the failure to offload fringe players) means two senior players will have to miss out on the Europa League squad, and according to the Daily Mail, it has already been decided that it will be outcasts Özil and Sokratis.
Of the pair, the biggest talking point is clearly Özil, the club's highest-ever earner on around £350,000-a-week.
He has not featured for Arteta since lockdown and was the subject of several half-links away from the Emirates Stadium during the summer. Özil has always stood firm and insisted he does not want to leave before his contract expires next summer.
However, this latest snub is thought to be a ploy in Arsenal's renewed attempts to agree a pay-off with the German to try and convince him to walk away earlier than planned.
The news comes soon after Özil offered to cover the salary of beloved mascot Gunnersaurus while he still remains at the club, which will give Arsenal another moral dilemma to consider.
Last month, technical director Edu suggested that Özil's continued exile from the starting lineup is down to his performances in training, with Arteta seemingly believing that the German does not work as hard as some of his team-mates.
“Here, we are talking of course about performance,” Edu said (via The Telegraph). “Players with performance in training, the game, they are going to have opportunities because Mikel already showed that. It is for everyone.
“We know how important everybody is. I know how important and how big the player is when you mention Mesut but in the end we are talking about performance here. If he is performing well, people are performing well, who is the best in the training, the best in the game, I’m sure Mikel is going to select them to be in the squads to play games or to be on the bench.”
Source : 90min