It wasn’t Mesut Ozil’s omission from the Arsenal team for the North London derby earlier this month that provided the biggest hint over the German’s future at the club, but the comments made by Unai Emery afterwards. They really stoked the fires of speculation around Ozil and his long-term future.

Ozil, it was reported, had suffered from back spasms in the days leading up to the game and so it was reasonable that he should be left out. But Emery revealed in his post-match interview that he “did not know” whether Ozil had even attended the derby. It wasn’t a good look for a player not always the flavour of the month with the Arsenal support.

Increasingly, it appears Ozil no longer holds a place in Emery’s plans for the Gunners. The 30-year-old has been left out of the Arsenal squad for the past few games, including the potentially season-defining 4-2 derby win over Spurs. This has led to reports that Ozil could leave the club as soon as January, with Inter Milan believed to be interested in the former Real Madrid and Werder Bremen playmaker.

An exit from Arsenal could be best for both club and player. Ozil has stagnated in North London. A strong run of form in the second half of last season, coupled with the departure of Alexis Sanchez in January, forced the Gunners into handing the German a new three-and-a-half year contract, but a parting of the ways now looks to be the best solution for all involved.

Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Ozil (L) and French manager Arsene Wenger (R)

Ozil, as a player, is a paradox. A contradiction of himself. At times, he is unplayable, maybe even the best in the Premier League. He can control games almost entirely on his own, and yet there are other times when he is anonymous. Missing in action. This is what frustrates Arsenal fans. Ozil should be a player to build around, but now he finds himself a peripheral figure.

Arsene Wenger afforded Ozil too much leeway. Emery hasn’t been so accommodating, as demonstrated by his willingness to drop the German this season. Whether or not there has been a full-blown dressing room fall out, the two men seem to have differences that will be difficult to reconcile.

If Arsenal can get a good price for Ozil, either in January or at the end of the season, they should cash in. The playmaker’s contract ties him to the club until 2021, but now into his thirties they might have to accept a lower fee than would be normal for a player with three years still remaining on his deal. Arsenal don’t need Ozil, Ozil doesn’t need Arsenal. There’s no point in sticking together for much longer.

Mesut Ozil to sign for before 2nd February:

Inter Milan

Bayern Munich


Odds are correct at the time of posting

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