Arsenal boss Unai Emery has said that he needs Mesut Ozil’s skills and quality ahead of some testing matches, but added that the attacking midfielder will need to continue to impress in training sessions if he wants to play.
The Gunners’ top earner has been used sparingly under Emery’s watch, with the Spanish boss asserting that others deserved to play ahead of him after being left out of the matchday squad.
Time in the stands had led to calls for Ozil to be moved on in order to get his sizeable wage off the books, but Ozil himself remains committed to the Arsenal cause.
Now, after much speculation from the outside, Emery claims that the German is close to being brought back into the starting XI after poor health and an attempted robbery had lowered his fitness level.
“Ozil worked well in pre-season, was playing matches, then his problem with Sead [Kolasinac] stopped him and after that he was sick,” Emery said. “Then he lost a lot of training to continue working and keeping his fitness.
“The last two or three weeks he’s improved with us training and I think it’s good. I didn’t close the possibility to play with him because I want – if he is ready and giving us every day in training a good feeling – he can play.
“My idea is to use every player and he is one on them. He has very big skills and quality we will need in the next matches.
“I am happy how he is improving and training every day. Before, there were other players ahead of him in training. Now, I am feeling better with him every day.”
Whether Ozil is part of Emery’s plans for Arsenal’s trip to Sheffield United on Monday remains to be seen, but the manager took time to praise Chris Wilder’s well-drilled outfit and insists the Gunners are ready for a challenging 90 minutes.
“They are playing well with a lot of players who have come from the Championship. They are a tough team and with their supporters they will push us very hard but we are ready.
“We want to give them a good 90 minutes.”