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I'll never be influenced by Ozil's Arsenal wages, says Arteta

Goal logo Goal 30/06/2020 Charles Watts

Mikel Arteta is adamant Mesut Ozil’s wages will never come into his mind when it comes to selecting his squad for a matchday.

Arsenal’s head coach left the playmaker, who pockets £350,000 a week and is Arsenal’s highest earner, out of the squad for the trip to Brighton on June 20.

Ozil did return for the 2-0 victory at Southampton but was an unused substitute, and was then missing completely at Sheffield United on Sunday due to a back injury.

The German remains a doubt for Wednesday night’s home game against Norwich but even if fit he would be unlikely to start, with Arteta having publicly called on the 31-year-old to do more in training.

Arsenal’s head coach admitted ahead of the match with the Canaries that Ozil is not happy with the situation he finds himself in, but was adamant that his sky high wages will not change his mind when it comes to how he selects his team each week.

“Never,” said Arteta. “That is an agreement that the player and club were happy to do, to move ahead and it is never [one] that I question.

"I think players are paid whatever they deserve because there are two parties here and that should never be something I have to judge.

“I want all my players at their best and to have the ability to be able to pick them to help the squad as much as possible and that's the only intention I have.

“I believe that he's not very happy because he's not playing but as well he picked up an injury the other day and we have to wait and see how he evolves.” Mikel Arteta wearing a uniform and holding a baseball bat: Mesut Ozil/Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2019-20 © Provided by Goal Mesut Ozil/Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2019-20

Arteta was a team-mate of Ozil’s during his playing days at Arsenal and when he returned to the club in December he appeared to have handed the German a lifeline in north London.

Having often found himself marginalised by Unai Emery, Ozil was brought straight back into the side by Arteta and started all 10 of the Spaniard’s league games in charge before football’s coronavirus enforced suspension in March.

He has yet to play a single minute since the restart, however, but Arteta insists he is well aware of the qualities he can still bring when at top form.

“I know him really well because I played with him,” he said. “Mesut has unique qualities. He is a very special player for the position he plays, how specific he is in the qualities that he has and what he can bring to the team. I don’t think much has changed.

“Obviously he adapted to the league and he needed some time but he started to perform pretty quickly and he established himself in this league for a long time, something that is not easy to do.”

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