Mikel Arteta says that when he proves he wants to perform at his top level, Mesut Ozil will be back in his Arsenal Team.
For Wednesday night’s 3-0 loss at Manchester City, the German was left out of the matchday squad, with Arteta later saying that he had been left in London for ‘tactical reasons.’
Speaking to the press on Thursday night ahead of Brighton’s Saturday game, Arsenal’s head coach elaborated on his grounds to omit Ozil from his squad and confirmed that he wanted to see more of the 31-year-old in training.
Arteta said, “From day one, I had been very open with Mesut. I thought he was fit and he was willing, since I joined, and he wanted to perform at the level he can do. The moment I see he’s able to do that again I’m going to treat him like everyone else. I think I was more than honest with him and I think he’s reacted the way I want to in many games. That is it.”
When asked why he thinks Ozil hasn’t been at the necessary level of training after the players came back from lockdown, Arteta added: “There’s a lot that’s happened to him over the last few weeks and I’ve got to respect the time for every team. They also need a bit of time. It’s been hard training over the last two months to get players ready and again, I’m the first to want Mesut at its best. When I think he can give his best, I’ll put him on the pitch.”
The defeat of Arsenal on Wednesday night leaves them ninth in the table ahead of the trip to Brighton on Saturday, eight points ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea and five in fifth behind Manchester United.
With only nine games remaining in the league, they look increasingly unlikely to qualify for the Champions League-but Arteta is not ready to give up just yet.