Arsenal may decide to offload Mesut Ozil to protect their “next generation” of talent, according to Martin Keown.
After being shut out of Unai Emery’s plans in the first half of the 2019-20 campaign, Ozil was restored to the starting line-up when Mikel Arteta inherited the managerial reins in December.
The German midfielder showed flashes of his best form as Arsenal made an unbeaten start to 2020, but the coronavirus outbreak disrupted his progress.
The Premier League was placed on hiatus for three months, and fixtures have been played behind closed doors since the season resumed on June 17.
Ozil has not seen a single minute of action since the restart, with Arteta publicly suggesting that 31-year-old’s fitness levels have fallen below the required standard.
Given his reported £350,000 in weekly wages, and the fact he has sat out the Gunners’ last seven matches, questions are again being asked over his future at the Emirates Stadium.
Ozil only has one year left to run on his current contract, and Keown expects Arsenal to cut their losses on a divisive figure this summer so that the club’s younger players are not tempted to follow the same example he has set during his time in north London.
Asked if the German still has a future at the Emirates, the former Gunners defender told Stadium Astro:
“No, I don’t think he does and I think really this summer now they may see the player being paid off because I think now it’s about protecting the next generation.
“I think it’s a real shame because he had a magnificent talent, but if you’re not prepared to work hard out of possession for the team, then you don’t get to play in the new Arsenal at the moment and that’s what Arteta is all about.
“Work ethic comes first and then everything else is a bonus, you play from there. Clearly, he’s not seeing enough on the training pitch.”
Keown went on to express his belief that Ozil has been guilty of coasting at Arsenal in recent years while raking in more money than any other player currently on the club’s books.