Arsenal manager Unai Emery calls on Mesut Ozil to produce more in the final third
The playmaker has been a hot topic of debate ever since his name failed to appear on the teamsheet for last month’s home game with West Ham.
Emery soon found himself denying claims of a training ground disagreement, insisting the player had been unwell, and Ozil, who retired from international football in the summer, has also been the centre of a divisive racism row in Germany over his Turkish roots.
Ozil returned to the Arsenal starting line-up for the 3-2 victory at Cardiff City and is expected to keep his place against Newcastle United as the Premier League resumes following the first international break of the season.
All eyes will therefore be on a player with a reputation for flashes of brilliance rather than consistency and Emery had no qualms about outlining how he expected Ozil to respond.
“I want to find with him the possibility to do the best, to make decisive passes, to do more near and in the box to score,” he said. “I think he is working for the team to help us with his quality but he is feeling like I am feeling. He can improve, he can do more.
“In this process, we will work, we will help him, give him the possibility on the pitch to be together, to find his qualities for us.
“For me it is a new moment, for us and for every player. The reason we are working is to prepare each match with our players to have the possibility to arrive in Newcastle in the best condition for every player. That’s the same for Mesut. He working well.”
Emery has been deploying Ozil either behind a main striker or on the right flank. “In his career he played like a 10 and on the right coming in with his quality,” he said. “Here he has played both.
“He is very convinced about that in my conversations with him about it. I usually give players the position they feel the best. With Mesut it is these two positions.”
Emery added that his regular discussions with Ivan Gazidis had not touched on the prospect of the chief executive leaving for AC Milan.
That the Serie A side are keen to recruit Gazidis has been known for a number of months and reports in Italy are now suggesting that the 54-year-old might finally be prepared to leave London and embark on a new chapter of his career.
Arsenal remain confident that he will stay and Emery said he had not been told otherwise.
“Every conversation I have with him is speaking about us and about our work here every day,” he said. “We talk about our performance, about our ideas and our process. About his future we didn’t speak.”
Left-back Nacho Monreal has indicated he is in talks over a new contract. The Spain international, 32, is on course to be a free agent at the end of the season but Emery was open to a longer stay.
“I am very happy with him because physically, with his performances with us in matches, he is playing at a very good level,” he said. “That, for me, is very important. We need to find a new contract with him to stay with the Arsenal team.”