Ozil has not featured in any of Arsenal’s last three matches in all competitions and was omitted entirely from the Gunners’ match day squad for Sunday’s 4-2 victory over rivals Tottenham in the north London derby, with Emery attributing his star’s absence to back pain.
Reports of escalating tensions between Emery and Ozil – who clashed in training back in August – have sparked fresh reports that he could leave Arsenal as soon as January, with Inter Milan claimed to be interested in bringing the 30-year-old to Serie A.
Emery insisted that injury was the reason for Ozil’s absence, adding that the midfielder is unlikely to feature for the Gunners against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
“Today he was working alone, I don’t know if he’s OK for Wednesday,” Emery said of Ozil. “I said yesterday he’s had backache since last Tuesday. He couldn’t play in Kiev or [against Tottenham]. At the moment, I don’t know if he can play in Manchester.”
Ozil signed a lucrative contract extension in February that runs until June 2021 and made him the highest earner in the Arsenal squad, with reported wages of £350,000-a-week before tax.
Life has been far from smooth for Ozil since, though. He retired from Germany duty under a cloud in July following his country’s disastrous World Cup showing, alleging that he had been subjected to “racism and disrespect” from the German Football Association (DFB) and wider society – accusations that brought him into open conflict with coach Joachim Low and his former teammates.
Emery has also challenged Ozil, dropping him for Arsenal’s 3-1 win over West Ham in August and benching him against Bournemouth earlier this month, claiming after the game that the 30-year-old was not suited for “a very demanding match with physicality and intensity”.
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