Paul Merson has joked that Mesut Ozil might as well retire if he can’t get into this current Arsenal team.
The German playmaker has fallen out of favour under Unai Emery and found himself left out of several matchday squads this season.
Most recently, Ozil was left at home as the Gunners suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to BATE Borisov in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 clash on Thursday night.
And Merson, the former Arsenal midfielder, finds himself baffled by the decision not to play Ozil, who he claims is the club’s best player.
“You play your best players and work around them,” he told Sky Sports News. “Ozil is Arsenal’s best player and he doesn’t play, it beats me.
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“He must sit at home and watch Arsenal and think ‘how am I not getting into this team?’
“I don’t know if they are trying to push him into retirement, because he must sit there and think he might as well retire if he can’t get into Arsenal’s team.”
Ozil, 30, has only started three of Arsenal’s last 12 games in all competitions, while he has been omitted from six matchday squads this term.
The Gunners have not thrived in his absence, losing five matches during his spell in and out of the team.
It is understood Emery doesn’t like his supposed lack of energy and off-the-ball workrate, but Merson insists the midfielder must be reinstated immediately.
“Ozil is not so influential that you have to build a team around him, but he has to play because he is their best player,” he added.
“He’s not going to run around and put sliding tackles in, that is never going to happen, but he makes things happen.
“Arsenal have to stick with him, they are not good enough not to have him in the team.”