Mikel Arteta insists there is a place for Mesut Ozil at Arsenal despite £350,000-a-week man STILL being frozen out of Gunners’ post-lockdown squad
- Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has backed Mesut Ozil to return to the Gunners side
- Ozil, who earns £350,000 a week, has fallen down the pecking order at the club
- But the Spaniard said there would ‘always be a place for a player of his quality’
- The midfielder hasn’t played a minute of action since the Premier League restart
Mikel Arteta insists the door will always be open for Mesut Ozil to return to the Arsenal fold, despite the 31-year-old’s continued exile during Project Restart.
Ozil has not played a single minute for Arsenal since the Premier League’s return, with ‘tactical’ reasons and a back injury keeping him out.
The former Germany international pockets £350,000 a week but, with Arteta recently adopting a 3-4-3 formation, questions have been raised over whether the No 10 still features in his plans.
Mesut Ozil hasn’t played a minute of Premier League action since the top flight restarted
But his manager Mikel Arteta has opened the door for Ozil’s return as he praised his quality
‘There is always a place for a player of his quality,’ Arteta said.
‘Players can adapt to different systems and we can adapt systems for different players.
‘Sometimes it is not just about what we want to play or how we want to play, sometimes we have to try to field the players that we have available in the right moments, in the right positions, to perform and be comfortable on the pitch to do what we require them to do.’
Elsewhere, the Gunners were handed a boost this week when exciting youngster Bukayo Saka signed a new long-term deal at the club.
The midfielder has often cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines for Arsenal this season
Arteta believes the German star will fit into his plans regardless of what tactical set up he uses
Since breaking into the first team, the 18-year-old has played in a number of positions including left back, left wing and attacking midfield.
Arteta wants him to retain this versatility for now. On where Saka’s future lies, he said: ‘Evolving, getting better and getting to understand different positions. Finally we will fit him in one position that gives the best.
‘But at the moment we need him to float a little bit because he gives us a lot of versatility to do different things, even with the same shape.
Promising English youngster Bukayo Saka signed a new deal with the Gunners this week
He urged the 18-year-old to focus on his game amid rumours he could soon play for England
‘He understands positions really well, he picks the movements and the situations and when to use the spaces really, really quickly. He is very intelligent and I think it is a really good thing for his development to do that.’
Saka’s rapid rise has prompted suggestions he could make England’s squad for next summer’s Euros.
The 18-year-old is eligible for both Nigeria and the Three Lions but Arteta insisted: ‘He should be looking at keeping performing like he’s doing now, keep training, keep improving, keep trying to be the best in training, as he can every day. If he does that, we know the potential that he has and things will come to him naturally.’