Mesut Ozil is not good enough to wear the Arsenal No.10 shirt, according to former England international midfielder Ray Wilkins.
The Germany international playmaker has yet to sign a new deal with the Gunners and is free to open talks with any potential suitors as early as January. However, it has been reported that he is likelier to pen a new contract should he be given his preferred number, as he believes it will boost his brand.
Wilkins, though, does not believe the 29-year-old deserves it ahead of Jack Wilshere, who is finding his feet again after a season on loan at Bournemouth.
“He is not a great player so why should he wear 10?” Wilkins said on talkSPORT. “Why should he nick that off Jack? I think the word ‘great’ is used far too often.
“I don’t think he has ever been a great player.
“You see him in the Premier League week in week out, he’s a good player, he’s a very good player.
“He’s been a fantastic player. I don’t think he is a great player.”
Ozil has been with the Gunners since 2013, having arrived from Real Madrid for a fee of around £42.5 million, but has split opinion since moving to the Emirates Stadium due to a perceived level of inconsistency in his game.
Nevertheless, he has played 168 times for Arsene Wenger’s side and scored 33 goals, including a career-best 12 last term.
Silverware, though, has been relatively thin on the ground, though he has netted a trio of FA Cup winners medals.
Ozil, though, is not the only Arsenal player whose contract is winding down. Wilshere could also find himself out of the door next June unless he ties himself to a new deal, but the most high-profile Gunner who could depart is Alexis Sanchez, who was strongly linked with a move to Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain last summer.
With January 1 representing the time that these players can open talks with other sides, the clock is ticking for Wenger to secure the future of numerous stars else face losing them for free.