Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has questioned Mesut Ozil’s commitment to the club, claiming he has “mentally left the football club”.
The 28-year-old has made just four starts for Arsene Wenger’s side this season and was not involved in the Europa League tie with BATE. Keown is not confident that Ozil’s injury problems are genuine, believing that the Germany international is already thinking about his future away from Arsenal.
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“I think he’s testing Wenger more than any other player has. I think it was Belarus the other week, he didn’t fancy going. He didn’t want to go,” Keown told BBC Radio 5.
“Suddenly he was injured again, he played nine minutes against West Bromwich Albion on the Monday, so how did he get injured there?
“I think in some departments he’s already left. Psychologically, mentally, he’s already left the football club. Maybe Wenger is now trying to do the best deal he can to get some compensation for him.”
Ozil has been linked with a January transfer away from the Emirates Stadium, with both Manchester United and Inter Milan touted as possible destinations for the midfielder.
Arsenal recorded a scoreless draw at Chelsea last weekend, with Alex Iwobi playing behind Alexandre Lacazette and Keown feels that Arsene Wenger is also looking at the future of the Gunners without the German.
‘I think he doesn’t want that sort of player around the youngsters in the group,” the 51-year-old said. “They played exceptionally well at Chelsea, where Iwobi did a really manful job – I know he hasn’t got the talent of Ozil, of course, but suddenly Arsenal could compete in both departments defensively and attacking-wise. It was probably the best performance I’ve seen in a couple of years.
“I was really impressed and it seemed like every player was giving their best. Alexis Sanchez is different. He loves playing football, just give him a ball and he’ll play and that’s all he wants to do. But Ozil, I think he’s downed tools, he wants to go and it’s going to get messy.”