Questions about the futures of Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil were not unexpected at Mikel Arteta’s press conference this afternoon.
The Arsenal boss is preparing for the game against Norwich tomorrow night, our first home game since the lockdown was eased, and neither player featured in the FA Cup win over Sheffield United.
Guendouzi was excluded from the squad for the second successive game after reported disciplinary issues, while Ozil was missing because of a reported back injury, and has yet to play a single minute since the resumption of football.
“I’ve said before that for every player in the squad my job is to get the maximum out of them, to try help them, support them.
“And if they are willing, everyone is welcome.”
Pressed if he thought the duo were willing, he continued, “I always hope that the players want to give their best.”
The pair are at opposite end of their career trajectories, and Arteta was asked if he thought Guendouzi was failing to make the most of his opportunity at Arsenal.
“I don’t know,” he said.
“When Arsenal picked him to come here it’s because they could obviously see the potential and the qualities that Matteo has.
“He’s a really young player and he’s still in development. When you are developing, the curve is not normally so much straightforward, you have to have some bumps and you have to adapt to it.
“Then in the process, you have to find the things you’ve done right and the things you’ve done wrong, like any other player.”
Tomorrow’s squad will be interesting, with Guendouzi’s place handed to youngster Matt Smith for the last two fixtures. Will he keep it?