Mikel Arteta Explains Why Mesut Özil Remains Out of Arsenal Squad

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has suggested the Gunners have evolved since he first arrived and there is now no obvious place for midfielder Mesut Özil in his squad.

Özil is yet to be seen in the 2020/21 season, having missed each of Arsenal's four games so far this year. The annual rumours of a potential departure have once again resurfaced, but the 31-year-old does not intend to leave the Emirates Stadium.

It was a surprise to see Özil left out of Wednesday's Carabao Cup victory over Leicester City, which was used to help build the fitness of a number of fringe players. Speaking after the game (via the club's official website), Arteta hardly seemed optimistic about Özil's chances of making it back into the squad.

"The team is evolving and you can see the level they are achieving, so this is where we are at at the moment," he explained. "We want to evolve more, play better and compete better, so we need to keep maintaining that trend.

"We are picking the players that we believe are the best for each game and as you can see, we keep changing, so this is what we are trying to do. You can see that the players that we are changing and using every week, that it is very difficult - not just for Mesut but the rest of the players - for some to make the squad. Every week, we try to pick the right players.

"It is difficult for others as well who weren't involved in the Premier League and they didn't play tonight either. We have a squad of 26, 27 players at the moment and we cannot give all of them playing time."

"I respect your questions but I have to try to do my job as fair as possible and pick the players that, in my opinion, are in a better condition to play."

Özil finds himself in a bit of a weird situation. Suggestions of a back injury can still be found in various reports, although the German has rubbished those claims on Twitter, claiming he's fit and raring to go.

Being on the outside at Arsenal is nothing new for Özil, who struggled to win over former boss Unai Emery as well. Complaints over his work rate and attitude led to the German being benched regularly, and it is thought that the Gunners have been looking to move him on for a few years now.

The main stumbling block is Özil's wages. He is believed to take home close to £300,000-a-week, which is more than any interested side is willing to pay.

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Source : 90min