Emery: Özil’s record salary doesn't guarantee him a place

£350,000-a-week player has been left out of starting line-up for past five league matches

 Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil   watches on the bench during his side’s  match against Southampton on December 16th. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil watches on the bench during his side’s match against Southampton on December 16th. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

 

Unai Emery has spelled out what his recent team selections have already made plain: Mesut Özil’s status as Arsenal’s highest-paid player does not guarantee him a place in the team.

“For me the player’s salary is not important,” said Emery. “I don’t know the players’ salary because for me they are the same. To every player I give the same conversation and the same decision [about whether] to play or not.”

The manager did not even rule out the possibility of Özil being allowed to leave the club in January – “I am not thinking about this situation,” he said – but also suggested that Özil could have a long-term future at Arsenal. “Yes, why not?” he replied when asked.

Özil, who signed a new contract in February worth a reported £350,000 per week until 2021, has been left out of the starting line-up for Arsenal’s past five league matches after being dropped for November’s trip to Bournemouth over doubts about his ability to cope with the home side’s “physicality and intensity”.

Tactical reasons

Emery cited “tactical reasons” for omitting the player entirely from Wednesday’s Carabao Cup match against Tottenham. But the Spaniard has recalled Özil to the squad for Saturday’s Premier League match against Burnley and said he trusts the player to deliver what is expected from him if he plays. He said Özil has been left in no doubt about those expectations.

“I have spoken with him regularly throughout the season and I am telling him what we need from him,” said Emery. “He has the commitment to help us with his quality and characteristics when the team needs his moment on the pitch. But not just him, I spoke with every player, sometimes individually, sometimes collectively.”

Emery suggested that a “best Arsenal XI” is an abstract concept and that, in practical terms, his team will change from match to match. And that Özil may or may not be included. “[Özil] has scored three goals [in the Premier League this season] and he has given us assists. But some matches we need different things tactically or individually. But it’s not only him.

Good commitment

“For me every player is the same. If you make a difference between them because one has more salary – for me it has to be the same. The most important thing is to train every day with good behaviour, good commitment and to be okay for the match. Mesut is okay for [Saturday’s match]. There are 18 players in the squad and one of them is Mesut and I trust in our team and all our players.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is not fit enough to play against Burnley and nor is Shkodran Mustafi. Emery suggested he may not start Laurent Koscielny because asking the centre-back to play in a third match in a week after missing seven months through injury could be excessive. That could mean Granit Xhaka is deployed in central defence again with Emery still worryingly short of defensive options.

– Guardian

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.