Arsenal are trying to freeze Mesut Özil out before moving him on this summer, to try and avoid paying the final year of his deal, according to a report.
James Olley of ESPN says they believe the ongoing absence of Mesut Özil from Mikel Arteta’s squad is based on a desire to freeze him out in anticipation of a summer transfer.
The 31-year-old has another year on his contract with Arsenal and doesn’t seem keen to move on yet. Perhaps the club think that if they just stop picking him for games, he’ll decide a transfer is the best option for him.
As we covered previously, Özil spent a couple of weeks out with a back injury earlier in the month. However, he recently returned to full training with the squad, declaring himself fit on his Instagram page.
Over a week later, he’s still absent from every matchday squad, with young Matt Smith taking his place. As highly-rated as Smith is with the Arsenal academy, and as hard as he’s worked to get chances with the senior side, you’d think Özil could have a greater impact on the team right now.
So, it does seem pretty likely the ESPN report is accurate. Either that or there’s some other falling out behind the scenes we don’t know about yet.