Ozil, Coutinho and the star players who don’t play

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The Arsenal forward is just one of many who gets paid a handsome amount just to sit on the bench amid spells of illness, injury and bad form

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    Mesut Ozil - £350,000/week

    Ozil has been left out of more Arsenal squads under manager Unai Emery than he has played in. The forward has suffered through illness and injury over the season but has also been dropped from the team altogether on more than one occasion, and has slowly drifted out of favour with the Frenchman.

    The ex-Germany international is currently the Premier League's second-highest earner after Alexis Sanchez, who left the Emirates for Old Trafford in 2018, and has been an unused sub or left out of the squad completely in 20 games in all competitions as of mid-February.

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    Philippe Coutinho - £240,000/week

    Pegged as the ideal replacement for Andres Iniesta, the former Liverpool midfielder has failed to live up to expectations so far at Camp Nou.

    The Brazil international has had difficulty fitting into the team and nailing first-team action in La Liga, prompting early speculation that he could be set to leave the Catalan side already.

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    Riyad Mahrez - £200,000/week

    The former Leicester midfielder had a positive start to his new life at Man City, starting twice in his first five Premier League appearances. He has since failed to win a regular starting berth, however, with Pep Guardiola preferring him for cup games.

    Since missing the chance to score an 85th-minute penalty against Liverpool in October, he has just scored three times in the league and named on the bench on four occasions.

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    Adrien Rabiot - £50,000/week

    The PSG midfielder has not played a solitary minute of Ligue 1 football since the 1-1 draw with Strasbourg in December as he continues to participate in a stand-off involving his refusal to sign a contract extension.

    The Frenchman is said to have been banned from the first-team dressing room and forced to train with the reserves, and is expected to leave the club on a free deal this summer once his contract expires.

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    Alexis Sanchez - £350,000/week

    Earning £350,000 a week, the Chile international is currently the highest-paid player in the Premier League – yet has made only a handful of appearances this season. Sanchez spent the entirety of December on the sidelines with a hamstring injury and has made just 14 appearances in the league as of mid-February, with two of those coming from the bench.

    He has only scored one league goal so far, a disappointing return for a player rated so highly at the Emirates.

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    James Rodriguez - £97,000/week

    Has there been any footballer who has suffered a harder fall from grace than Bayern's James Rodriguez? The Colombia international was a superstar at the 2014 World Cup, then an unknown starlet, and signed for Real Madrid before moving to the Bundesliga in 2017 where he has been largely seen as a disappointment.

    Despite a recent resurgence after recovering from a ruptured knee ligament that led him to miss a month of action, he has failed to live up to the standards expected of him when he set the world alight in Brazil in 2014.

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    Fred - £85,000/week

    The Shakhtar arrival has had trouble gelling with the Red Devils this season, having made just one Premier League start in the last three months – with his last outing coming in the FA Cup third round win over Reading.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has insisted that there will be room for the Brazilian to feature across the remainder of the season, but he has found opportunities hard to come by.

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    Malcom - £90,000/week

    Since beating out Roma for the signature of Malcom in summer 2018, Ernesto Valverde has since appeared to suggest he didn't want the player by labelling him "a signing made by the club."

    The coach has offered him few opportunities to prove himself at the Catalan side, making just 10 appearances in all competitions, including seven in La Liga, with six of them coming as a substitute.

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    Serge Aurier - £70,000/week

    Aurier has made just seven Premier League appearances for Tottenham Hotspur this season after suffering from a groin injury, with nine additional starts from the bench at the mid-way point of the season.

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    Mario Gotze - £150,000/week

    Gotze became the poster boy for German talent after breaking through the Dortmund youth team and scoring his team's World Cup-winning goal in 2014.

    Since returning to Dortmund from Bayern in 2016, however, the forward has struggled, starting just nine games out of 18 Bundesliga fixtures and scoring three times.

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    Vincent Janssen - £34,000/week

    The Dutch forward – a £17 million signing in 2016 – hasn't featured under Mauricio Pochettino since August of 2017, being sent on loan to Fenerbahce last season.

    He had looked poised to leave north London in January, but Pochettino decided to keep him in the squad and name him in his Premier League side for the latter half of the campaign.