'Ozil needs to contribute 24/7' - Arsenal chief Sanllehi backs Emery over star midfielder's absence

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The Gunners' head of football told supporters at a fans' forum that he hopes to see the German playing again but that he must earn his place back

Raul Sanllehi has backed Unai Emery’s handling of the Mesut Ozil situation at Arsenal.

Ozil has featured just twice so far this season, with his only appearance in the Premier League coming during the 2-2 draw with Watford at Vicarage Road last month.

The German - who is being paid £350,000 a week by the Gunners - has not even been included in the matchday squad for the past three games.

And when asked after the Europa League win against Standard Liege why Ozil had not been involved, Emery stated it was because others simply deserved their spot more.

"Really I am thinking every time to decide the best players for each match and the best player for the squad to play and [who will] help us," said the Spaniard.

"When I decide he’s not in the squad it’s because another player deserves it more."

Ozil's continued absence has seen Emery receive plenty of criticism from sections of Arsenal's fanbase, who believe the former Real Madrid man would bring some much-needed creativity to the team.

There have been growing calls from supporters for the 30-year-old to be brought back into the fold, but that looks unlikely, with Arsenal due to visit Sheffield United after the international break.

Mesut Ozil Arsenal 2019-20

And now Emery’s stance has received the backing of Sanllehi, who spoke about the ongoing situation at a fans’ forum with supporters on Thursday night.

Responding to a question about Ozil’s lack of playing time, Arsenal’s head of football said: “Unai has had many good players in other teams also, and he has always followed the same policy which is try not to make any distinctions, play the ones who work hard in training and reward the effort with playing time.

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“There is nothing against Mesut on the contrary and I hope we get to see him much more in the next games because his qualities are without question, but he needs to contribute 24/7 and that’s what Unai expects from him.

“It’s not that he’s not working so well, but there are others who are deserving more playing time, but Unai can’t treat him differently than any other player.

“You may have read that Unai has put a barrier up, but nothing at all like this has happened."

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