Mikel Arteta has said Arsenal will reassess Mesut Ozil’s position in January.
For the first time this season, the topic of Mesut Ozil‘s omission from the Arsenal squad has taken a backseat. Two wins on the bounce has quelled disgruntlement, or justified the decision depending on one’s stance, as the Gunners head into the winter window.
Emile Smith Rowe has entered the fray off the back of determined calls from supporters, filling in as the creative midfield outlet admirably. His displays have warranted his inclusion, with the Ozil saga temporarily easing up.
It is, however, the January transfer window and the inevitable discussion of the German’s future has reemerged, one that Mikel Arteta has discussed ahead of a busy period behind the scenes.
"“We will see what happens in the transfer window and we will assess that at the end,” Arteta said in his press conference, quoted by the Telegraph.“You have to respect the player’s contract. What you can do is try to be open with them and tell them your intentions, the role they have in the team and why that is.“At the end, they are entitled to make the decision in their lives because they have a contract here. And some would like to move because they are not playing, and some would like to stay. At the end that is something we cannot decide.”"
While this could be construed as Ozil having a chance of being reinstated (when the second squads are announced), it’s doubtful that Arteta will go back on his original decision. Regarding the transfer window, any assessment made will be based on whether Ozil departs north London. If anything, he appears resigned to the 32-year-old remaining for the rest of his contract, regardless of informing the forward he won’t be playing.
This comes with the caveat of sources stating that Ozil remains one of the best performers behind closed doors, and that his technical ability remains of the highest order.
Most crucially, if no attacking midfielder is added to the squad coupled with a number of outgoings, there will be space for Ozil to be re-registered for the second half the season. If that decision is made, and it’s not out of the question, the reality is that Ozil won’t have played competitive football for nearly a year.
Even the most gifted footballers will need a significant amount of time to get back up to speed, not least one on the wrong side of 30. Arteta has made his bed, he will proceed to lie in it. Whether or not the German’s omission is one supporters may back or oppose, Arteta will not be in a position where he can afford the time to get Ozil back up to the speed of Premier League football.
Ignoring tactics and setups, that alone will force his hand, albeit a hand he forced himself. Arsenal will have one last attempt to move Ozil on – one that will inevitably fail – and the Spaniard will maintain his stance. Agree or disagree, Arteta won’t budge.