Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will name his 25-man Europa League squad for the upcoming campaign on Thursday, with both Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos expected to be missing.
Neither player has managed a minute of action this season, with both being dropped during the Gunners’ summer transfer window. Thomas Partey, Willian and even the returning Mohamed Elne have taken minutes from Ozil, while Gabriel Magalhaes is a regular at the back.
Sokratis was expected to leave Arsenal during the summer / Dan Stettin / Getty Images
Arsenal’s current squad size (and inability to offload fringe players) means two senior players will have to miss out on the Europa League squad, and according to the Daily Mail, it has already been decided that Ozil and Sokratis will be sent off. .
Of the pair, the biggest talking point is clearly Ozil, the club’s all-time top earner on £350,000-a-week.
He has not featured for Arteta since the lockdown and was the subject of several half-way links away from the Emirates Stadium during the summer. Ozil has always been steadfast and insists he does not want to leave before his contract expires next summer.
However, the latest snub is understood to be a ploy in Arsenal’s renewed efforts to agree a fee with the German and try to convince him to leave earlier than planned.
The news comes shortly after Ozil offered to cover the salary of beloved mascot Gunnersaus while he still remains at the club, leaving Arsenal with yet another ethical dilemma to consider.
Last month, technical director Eddo suggested Ozil’s continued banishment from the starting line-up depended on his performance in training, with Arteta apparently believing the German doesn’t work as hard as some of his teammates.
Arteta is believed to be unimpressed with Ozil’s work rate / Vision Haas/Getty Images
“Here, we’re definitely talking about efficiency,” Edo said (via The Telegraph ). “The players who perform in training, in the game, will get opportunities because Mikel has already shown that. It’s for everyone.
“We know how important everyone is. I know how important and how big a player is when you mention Mesut, but at the end of the day we are talking about performance here. If he performs well The guys are doing well, the best in training, the best in the game, I’m sure Mikel is going to pick them to play in the squad or be on the bench.”
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