Ozil might be in Arsenal comfort zone, says Wenger

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has suggested out of favour Mesut Ozil could have lost motivation after signing a new contract.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil   -  Getty Images

Mesut Ozil may be in a "comfort zone" at Arsenal after being given a bumper new contract last year, according to former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.

Ozil signed a three-and-a-half-year-deal in February 2018 with his new contract reportedly earning him £350,000 a week and placing him among of the world's best paid players.

But despite being named one of a group of captains by Wenger's Arsenal replacement Unai Emery, Ozil has drifted out of favour and has started a single Premier League game in 2019.

Ozil was left out of the travelling squad for Arsenal's 1-0 Europa League defeat away to BATE last week and was an unused substitute in their 3-1 Premier League defeat away to Manchester City earlier in the month.

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And Wenger questioned Ozil's motivation while claiming it would have cost the Premier League club £100million to buy a replacement for the former Germany international.

"I feel that the length of the contract has nothing to do normally with the selection of the team. But sometimes there are special cases," said Wenger at Monday's Laureus World Sports Awards, where he collected the Lifetime Achievement honour.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger   -  Getty Images

 

"Most of the time now we think when we sign a player for five years we have a good player for five years. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they practice, they play their best. Because they might be in their comfort zone.

"He has a contract but the problem is that if you want to buy a player like him you have to spend £100million. And to maintain the value of the player, beyond the Ozil case, it is more about the way football is structured.

"To buy players of top, top quality you need £100m. So the decision you have to make is whether you re-sign the player, who costs us nothing, or do we have the money to buy a new player?"

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The day after Arsenal's BATE defeat, Ozil sparked discussion about his future at the club with a post on social media quoting Gunners icon Dennis Bergkamp.

"'When you start supporting a football club, you don't support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong'," Ozil wrote on Twitter.