Unai Emery has praised Mesut Ozil ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Sheffield United, and claims his whole squad, without exception, have impressed him in recent weeks.
Though Ozil is Arsenal’s top earner on wages of £350,000-a-week, he has been left out of Emery’s three most recent matchday squads against Manchester United, Standard Liege and Bournemouth.
In total, the German playmaker has missed over 100 games since joining Arsenal in 2013 for a combination of tactical reasons, illness and injury.
Recent reports claim that Emery has reached the end of his tether with Ozil and will let the ex-Real Madrid star leave on loan in the January transfer window.
However, the midfielder hit back at these rumours by insisting that he plans to remain with the Gunners until his contract expires in 2021. In same interview, Ozil admitted that he and Arsenal’s manager do not always see eye-to-eye.
Despite their differences, Emery singled Ozil out for praise ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Bramall Lane on Monday evening.
‘I am speaking every day with Raul [Sanllehi], Edu and with the players,’ the Spaniard said.
‘Our work is more important than our words and really now I am very happy at the club.
‘I am really happy with the players. The last two, three, four weeks, every player – and Mesut Ozil – is working very well.
‘This is why we can be positive and we can think we are going to do something important this year.
‘I was speaking with Raul and this is the same idea when he is speaking with me.’
Arsenal legend Martin Keown believes Ozil ‘needs to look at himself’ over his ’embarrassing’ situation in north London.
‘It’s embarrassing for the football club that he is not featuring for Arsenal,
’ the former defender told talkSPORT. ‘He has to take a look at himself. It can’t be everybody else’s fault.
‘I don’t care what he’s earning to play for the club it’s an honour to play and while you are there you make your mark.
‘At the moment is he setting a good example in training? As a senior player I would make sure that the youngsters would follow on.
‘I would graft, I would work, give everything I could. I would be collective and help the group around me.
‘I wouldn’t be talking about me. He’s looking about and saying I’m not playing now so don’t blame me.
‘Well, no! It’s about the collective it’s not about you. How do we get you in the team now to get you back in the group. That’s the next step for Ozil now.
The opportunity is there. ‘I don’t see him saying anywhere he is desperate to play. For me, the oxygen every weekend was to be in that team and I would bust a gut and I want to see that from Ozil.’