Ques­tions abound over Ozil’s fu­ture

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

LON­DON. — Me­sut Ozil has missed Arse­nal's last four matches and may be ab­sent again when the Gun­ners host Hud­der­s­field Town in the English Premier­ship to­day.

The 30-year-old play­maker is be­ing treated for a back prob­lem and man­ager Unai Emery has hinted that he could be passed fit yesterday if he comes through ses­sions with the club's phys­io­ther­a­pist un­scathed.

The Ger­man had been on the train­ing ground on Thurs­day "run­ning and touch­ing the ball", Emery told a press con­fer­ence. But even if Ozil is given the green light to re­turn there are no guar­an­tees that Emery will pick the club's high­est earner, even for the bench.

That de­spite be­ing a World Cup win­ner in 2014, and a player with skills few oth­ers on the planet can re­pro­duce, es­pe­cially when it comes to set­ting up col­leagues to score.

Emery, it seems, had al­ready de­cided he could do with­out the for­mer Ger­many in­ter­na­tional in his com­pre­hen­sive over­haul of a squad that had for­got­ten how to win tro­phies un­der pre­vi­ous man­ager Arsene Wenger.

It was the French­man who had sanc­tioned a salary dou­bling, £350 000—a— week, three-year con­tract ex­ten­sion for Ozil just three months be­fore step­ping down as man­ager.

Ozil's omis­sion from the start­ing line-up at Bournemouth on Novem­ber 25 was the big re­veal to a world that could not fail to no­tice.

Emery's ex­pla­na­tion could hardly be mis­in­ter­preted ei­ther: Ozil was named on the bench — and left there for the en­tire game — at Bournemouth be­cause his man­ager felt he could not deal with the "phys­i­cal­ity and in­ten­sity" of the Gun­ners' op­po­nents.

Few failed to no­tice at the time that the rea­son for his omis­sion car­ried lit­tle weight as Bournemouth are one of the least ag­gres­sive in the Premier League.

His ab­sence mat­tered lit­tle as the Gun­ners' un­beaten run sim­ply car­ried on with­out him.

The Gun­ners can take that to 21 matches against the Ter­ri­ers with Ozil's re­turn to the side likely to be de­layed till they play Qarabag in the Europa League next week.

Wenger, in his fi­nal sea­son, used the com­pe­ti­tion to keep fresh fringe men he had de­cided not to em­ploy in the Premier League even though three of them — Eng­land duo Theo Wal­cott and Jack Wil­shere plus Olivier Giroud of France – were in­ter­na­tion­als of ex­pe­ri­ence and rep­u­ta­tion. — AFP.

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