Mesut Ozil’s lucrative contract extension at Arsenal has led to “tension” in the Gunners camp, claims former forward Jeremie Aliadiere.
The World Cup-winning midfielder was handed fresh terms in February 2018 as his previous deal ran down.
Those in north London had to dig deep in order to keep the German playmaker on their books, with his continued presence at Emirates Stadium considered to be crucial to the club’s plans.
Ozil has, however, struggled to justify the faith shown in him, with Unai Emery having taken to overlooking him at times this season.
Arsenal have also seen Aaron Ramsey seal a switch to Juventus after being unable to retain his services, with Aliadiere suggesting that wage envy and a desire on the part of others to get parity with top earners has caused unrest within a squad that should be united.
The ex-Gunners frontman told Stadium Astro of a man who has been unceremoniously dropped for crunch clashes in 2018-19: “Knowing that he’s not going to those big games, you think ‘why am I not getting this’.
“They’re there every single game grafting.
“On paper, he’s the biggest player they’ve got.”
Quizzed on whether Ozil’s standing could irritate his team-mates, Aliadiere added: “It could do.
“Losing Ramsey on a free is incredible.
“But you look at Ozil and think ‘I want the same’. They’re going to the big games and trying.
“Sometimes it can create a bit of tension in the dressing room.”
Ozil has returned to favour under Emery over recent weeks.
He was handed the captain’s armband once again for a Premier League trip to Everton on Sunday.
The 30-year-old was, however, unable to provide attacking inspiration during a forgettable showing from the Gunners at Goodison Park.
A 1-0 defeat has left Arsenal fourth in the table, but vulnerable to the threat posed by those directly below them.
It could be that they slip below the Blues on Monday, with Maurizio Sarri’s troops preparing for a derby date with West Ham at Stamford Bridge.