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Arsenal stuck with overpaid Ozil as transfer window closes

first_imgAfter last week’s FA Cup loss to Manchester United, Arsenal manager Unai Emery was asked why Mesut Ozil had not started at the Emirates.The Spaniard’s response was curt: “He played.”Factually correct but also a fittingly terse summation of Ozil’s situation at Arsenal right now. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? He played. He made an appearance. He was not a game-changer, not the first name on the teamsheet, not even guaranteed to make the squad. But, at least, he played.Since becoming Arsenal’s highest-paid player in February 2018, the German has featured in 32 Premier League games, but contributed just four goals and 11 assists. Not the kind of statistics one would associate with someone earning £350,000 ($460,000) every week.As a result, Ozil has been often surplus to requirements under new manager Emery, who has put a different stamp on Arsenal than predecessor Arsene Wenger.The new boss indicated that someone of Ozil’s ability would be needed as they compete in Europe as well as domestically, but their FA Cup exit means that their fixture list will be less hectic over the coming months.There was a strong possibility Ozil would leave in January in order to get regular game time elsewhere but his agent Dr Ekut Sogut insisted that the former Germany international was happy to stay at the Emirates Stadium.“I would prefer not to speak publicly about Mesut’s situation, but given the recent speculation linking him with a move away from Arsenal, I do feel it is important to provide some clarity so we can end this and focus on football,” he told  Goal.“Mesut signed a new contract last January because he saw his future at Arsenal and nothing has changed in his mind. He wants to stay for the duration of that contract and maybe even longer.“Mesut is 100 per cent committed to Arsenal Football Club. He loves the club, shares its values and does not want to be anywhere else.”He is proud to wear the shirt and honoured to represent Arsenal on and off the pitch. He takes his responsibilities – including being selected as one of the captains this season – very seriously and has a great relationship with his team-mates, the staff and fans.”Ozil agentIt always seemed as if Ozil was destined to stay at Arsenal once the transfer window closed.There was interest in the attacker, but clubs across Europe were put off by his enormous wages. Inter were in contention, but the Serie A side wanted the Gunners to foot some of the bill and pay a percentage of his salary.The contract he signed just a year ago priced the majority of clubs out of the market, with only Europe’s elite capable of affording £350,000 per week.Ozil still has the qualities to succeed at the highest level and despite criticism that saw him retire from international football, he was one of few Germany players who actually performed well at last summer’s World Cup.This season, he has often shown those playmaking abilities, but not regularly enough for Emery to start him in every game.The former Paris Saint-Germain boss wants his attacking players to defend from the front, an aspect of Alexandre Lacazette’s game that has improved sufficiently to turn him into a regular starter. Emery, though, does not have the luxury to start Ozil, despite his ability to unlock any opponent.Now, the Arsenal manager is stuck with the pressure of having his highest-paid player on the bench, a position that he cannot do anything about.Ozil is not part of his plans but Arsenal have no way of getting him off the books because of their own ill-advised decision to give him the most lucrative contract in club history.Mesut Ozil Unai Emery ArsenalThe situation sums up the systemic problems at Arsenal at the very top of the club. In recent years, the club has been run appallingly.Until he finally departed last summer, Wenger had been virtually untouchable, possessing absolute power – despite not winning the Premier League since 2004.The new management structure put in place to take Arsenal forward in the post-Wenger era has not impressed. Chief executive Ivan Gazidis left the club in November, while Sven Mislintat has announced he will also be departing this month, despite only taking over as Head of Recruitment 18 months ago.Numerous first team players have seen their contracts wind down in recent seasons. Last season’s star man Alexis Sanchez moved to Manchester United in the January 2018 transfer window six months before his deal was due to expire. This summer, Aaron Ramsey is set to join Juventus on a Bosman deal after contract talks broke down with Arsenal. Right now, Arsenal are not being run like an elite football club should be.Ozil still will get chances at Arsenal this season, especially with Europa League success important to Emery. Beyond that, though, it’s difficult to see him becoming a regular again under Emery.His current status could just as easily be summed up by the equally terse statement: “He’s paid.”last_img read more