Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger feels that Mesut Ozil’s lacklustre performances this season are down to the five-year contract that the German signed last January worth a reported £350,000-a-week.
Wenger signed Ozil from Real Madrid for £42.5 million back in 2013 and the French coach has always been a staunch defender of often criticised former Germany international.
69-year-old Wenger was in charge of Arsenal when the club handed Ozil the biggest contract in the North London clubs history, in order to stop him leaving on a free transfer in the summer.
Ozil has since fallen out of favour with new manager Unai Emery due to a perceived lack of work-rate, and Arsenal are rumoured to be desperate to get the 30-year-old off their wage bill, although the player is said to have refused a loan move away during the recent transfer window.
While Wenger has defended the decision to hand Ozil a bumper new contract, he has suggested that the former Real Madrid man motivation levels may have dropped.
“I feel that the length of the contract has nothing to do normally with the selection of the team,” Wenger said at the Laureus World Sports Awards.
“But sometimes there are special cases. Most of the time now we think when we sign a player for five years we have a good player for five years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they practise, they play their best. Because they might be in their comfort zone.
“He has a contract but the problem is that, if you want to buy a player like him, you have to spend £100m. And to maintain the value of the player, beyond the Özil case, it is more about the way football is structured.
“To buy players of top, top quality you need £100m. So the decision you have to make is whether you re-sign the player, who costs us nothing, or do we have the money to buy a new player?”