Arsenal legend Ray Parlour thinks that Unai Emery could risk losing his job as Arsenal manager if he fails to resolve the Mesut Özil issue.
After signing a £350,000-per-week deal last season, Özil ‘s playing time under Emery has been limited.
And in the context of poor results, such as Thursday’s shock 1-0 defeat to BATE Borisov, the omission of Ozil has seen some question the Spanish coach’s wisdom, and his suitability for the job of rebuilding Arsenal.
Would Özil want Emery sacked? Five things to know…
- Özil, who is Arsenal’s top earner, has featured only once since Boxing Day.
- Emery has previously stated that he is happy enough to ‘provoke friction’ with players.
- Özil isn’t always played in the No.10 position he favoured under previous manager Arsene Wenger.
- Emery left Ozil out of his Europa League squad for the BATE Borisov trip for fitness reasons.
- The German recently liked an Instagram post appearing to criticise this omission.
Parlour has drawn parallels between the situation with Özil at Arsenal and Emery’s relationship with Neymar while coach at Paris Saint-Germain.
“It’s been a little bit like PSG with Neymar. Neymar ended up getting Emery the sack,” he told the Mirror.
“He lost the dressing room and Neymar was pulling the strings there. Maybe it could be the same at Arsenal.
“It looks like that could happen. I go back to the dilemma of what Arsenal have got. He’s on £350,000-a-week. Who is going to pay that sort of money?
“There’s got to be a time in your career, when you’re over 30 you know you’re on a slippery slope. You have to come to a decision.”
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“Ozil must show the right attitude”
But Parlour believes that both Özil and Emery’s days in England may be numbered. Having played almost as many games as he’s missed this season, the German midfielder must be keeping his options open to a move.
It’s unclear where the difficulties stem from as Özil has been given the number 10 shirt and captain’s armband this season.
Adding to his comments Parlour said: “He could stick his heels in and sit out his contract, and say ‘play me when you want’. The players hold all the power.
“When you’re left out you want a reaction from the player – especially from training. Show the attitude you want to get back into the team somehow.
“I don’t know what he’s been like in training.”
With his huge wages making a transfer unlikely, Özil would be the more likely of the two to stay put. Although Emery’s promising start has waned slightly, his side have still shown promise sitting in fifth place.
In these situations, considering the money involved, clubs are always more likely to back the player. Özil is becoming an elephant in the room for Emery and one that could leave him crushed.