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Arsenal legend warns selling Ozil would be a 'big step backwards'

13:31 GMT+3 01/03/2019
Mesut Ozil Arsenal 2018
The World Cup winner's future continues to be called into question but Robert Pires feels it would be wrong to send him the same way as Aaron Ramsey

Arsenal have been warned that selling Mesut Ozil would be “a big step backwards”, with Robert Pires eager to see the Gunners avoid losing Aaron Ramsey and a World Cup winner in the same summer.

Questions continue to be asked of a German playmaker at Emirates Stadium, with a lack of regular starts considered to be edging him towards the exits.

Ozil has, however, offered no indication that he is looking for a way out and has seen niggling knocks and illness prevent him from making the desired impact under Unai Emery over recent weeks.

Arsenal legend Pires believes it would be a mistake to part with a player with such obvious ability, with the Gunners having committed to the 30-year-old long term when handing him a lucrative new contract in February 2018.

A member of the club’s famed ‘Invincibles’ squad from 2003-04 told BWIN of a current star turn: “It’s vital that Emery finds a space for Ozil in the first team. It would be a big step backwards for the club if they sell him. He recently extended his contract and there’s no arguing that he is one of, if not, the best player in Arsenal’s squad.

“There seems to be a communication breakdown between Emery and Ozil and whatever the issue is, it has been allowed to drag out over the season. For me, it’s vital that they put whatever’s happened behind them and they move on.

“If they put it behind them and start fresh next season, having Ozil behind [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and [Alexandre] Lacazette will be a formidable force. Arsenal have a fantastic box-to-box player in [Aaron] Ramsey, who will do the running for Ozil which allows him to focus on his own game. There’s no reason why Ozil shouldn’t be in the side.”

While Ramsey is able to aid Ozil’s cause at present, he is destined to be heading out of north London at the end of the season.

The Wales international has a pre-contract agreement in place with Serie A champions Juventus and Pires admits he will be a big miss, especially as he is walking away as a free agent.

The Frenchman added: “I’m upset that Ramsey is leaving Arsenal and it’s a shame the player and Arsenal couldn’t come to an agreement as he will be missed. The club and players have to respect his decision and I’m glad he still receives a warm welcome with the Arsenal fans as I feel he still has a key role to play in how this season will end up.

“Emery needs to utilise Ramsey as often as possible until he leaves in the summer and he’s key to Arsenal finishing in the top four this season.

“I think Ramsey has been excellent for Arsenal and I would be surprised if he wasn’t given a warm send-off from the fans and club. It’s a great chance for Ramsey to play with some new players, including the likes of [Cristiano] Ronaldo and I wish him the best of luck.”