Skip to main content

Emery impressed by Ozil attitude and insists midfielder can be key part of squad

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has insisted Mesut Ozil has the “possibility” to be a key part of his team again.

The playmaker has only featured twice for the Gunners this season, but in an interview with The Athletic refuted suggestions he may leave the Emirates any time soon.

Ozil signed a new three-and-a-half year contract worth £350,000 per week in January 2018 which will run until the summer of 2021 and stated this week he would be “staying until then.”

Ozil has not been a key part of Emery's plans so far this season

Ozil has not been a key part of Emery’s plans so far this season (Steven Paston/PA)

Talking ahead of Monday’s Premier League match at Sheffield United – the start of seven matches in three weeks for Arsenal – Emery said: “This year started difficult for him.

“He worked well in pre-season and he was playing in the games. But then the problem he had along with Sead (Kolasinac) stopped him. After that he was sick for one week and then he lost a lot of training to keep his fitness.

“But in the last two to three weeks he’s improved with us in training and I think it’s good. I didn’t close the possibility for him to play.

“I want him to be OK and ready with being available for training and giving us a good feeling every day. Then he can play. My idea is to use every player and he is one.

Emery has been impressed by Ozil's reaction

Emery has been impressed by Ozil’s reaction (Steven Paston/PA)

“The player can help us. He has very big skills and one quality we will need in the next matches. Really I am happy now how he is improving and training every day. He is one player more in that squad.”

When Arsenal won 4-0 against Standard Liege in the Europa League at the beginning of October, Ozil failed to even make the matchday squad.

Afterwards Emery said: “When I decided he shouldn’t be in the squad it’s because I think other players deserved it more.”

But the Arsenal manager has been impressed with the reaction of the German World Cup winner since.

He added: “When I said that it was because at that moment maybe physically, maybe also with more rhythm and maybe more it depends what we need from other players in each match, then they were in front of him at that moment.

“But now I am telling you I am feeling better with him every day in training and also he is another possibility in the squad now to play and to help us.”

All eyes will now be on whether Ozil is involved at Bramall Lane, but Kieran Tierney should feature against Sheffield United in what would be his Premier League debut since signing from Celtic in the summer.

A photo posted by on

“Tierney is ready to play,” Emery said. “We have two options at left-back. We have a lot of games and we will need every player.”

Alexandre Lacazette is also back in training after an ankle injury, but Emery was more cautious about the chances of him facing the Blades.

He concluded: “Lacazette was first training today and he is feeling well. I don’t know if he is ready for 90 minutes or to be on the bench. We are going to decide in the next days.”