Mikel Arteta has opened up on his decision to leave Mesut Ozil out of the Arsenal squad for their defeat to Manchester City.
Ozil was not included in the expanded 20-man Arsenal squad for the mid-week loss at the Etihad and his omission has raised further doubts over his long-term future at the north London side. Arteta gave short-shrift to questions about the German’s absence, simply citing ‘tactical reasons’, but speculation surrounding the talented playmakers future has intensified with users of Free bets on Ladbrokes lining up to predict whether the German will remain at the Emirates past this summer.
The Spaniard has now revealed, however, that he feels Ozil is not ready to ‘give his best’ for the side and says he has held open and honest conversations with the playmaker on the standards expected.
“I’ve been very open with Mesut from day one,” Arteta said, as per Sky Sports.
“I thought he was fit and willing and wanted to perform at the level he can do. I think he has played every game with me.
“The moment I see he is ready to do that again I will treat him like everyone else. I have been more than fair with him and he has responded in many games, the way I want. That’s it.
“A lot has happened to him in the last few weeks and I have to respect the timing of every player. Sometimes they need a little bit of time.
“It has been difficult preparation in the last two months to get players ready.
“Again, I am the first one who wants Mesut at his best. I will put him on the pitch when I think he can give his best.”
Arteta added that Ozil had reacted positively to his omission from the match-day squad, but refused to reveal the details of the ‘clear and honest’ conversation held between the pair.
“He was very well with me. There were no issues at all,” he added.
“My conversation with Mesut is going to remain with him and me. It was a clear and honest conversation.”