Edu thinks Mikel Arteta will pick Mesut Ozil this season but only if the German delivers in training.
Having enjoyed a solid run of games under the Spaniard at the turn of the year, the World Cup winner hasn’t played competitively since March and wasn’t even in the country when his teammates secured the FA Cup at Wembley last month.
In an interview with The Athletic (£), he’s since hinted that his decision not to take a voluntary pay cut – something the rest of his teammates accepted as the financial implication of Covid-19 took a toll – played a part in him being sidelined.
Initially, Arteta cited Ozil’s struggles with a back problem for leaving him out of squads but as the absence continued definitive answers were hard to come by.
Looking to tackle the subject head-on before the start of the new season, Edu told press:
“Here, we are talking of course about performance. Players with performance in training, the game, they are going to have opportunities because Mikel already showed that. It is for everyone.
“We know how important everybody is. I know how important and big the player is when you mention Mesut but in the end we are talking about performance here.
“If he is performing well, people are performing well, who is the best in the training, the best in the game, I’m sure Mikel is going to select them to be in the squads to play games or to be on the bench.”
Ozil has made it very clear that picked or not, he won’t be leaving Arsenal until his contract runs out next summer. He did feature in a behind-closed-doors friendly this week and has been training regularly.
On the eve of a new season, the big question is whether he’ll go out with a bang or a whimper.