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Arsenal role for Ozil if World Cup winner is ‘willing’ while Arteta remains confident on Saka contract

14:44 BST 30/06/2020
Mesut Ozil/Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2019-20
The Gunners boss is ruling nobody out of his plans for the rest of the season and hopes to see key men commit to fresh terms

Mesut Ozil still has a role to play at Arsenal if he is “willing”, says Mikel Arteta, while the Gunners remain hopeful that Bukayo Saka will soon commit to a new contract with the club.

Since the Premier League restart on June 17, a World Cup winner on the books at Emirates Stadium has seen no competitive game time.

Arteta has left Ozil out of matchday squads altogether and not turned to him off the bench despite inconsistent Arsenal being in need of creative inspiration at times.

Nobody is being ruled out of the club’s future plans, though, with Matteo Guendouzi also falling into that category after seeing his attitude questioned, and it could be that minutes are found over the coming weeks.

Asked whether Ozil and Guendouzi could figure again this season, Arteta told reporters ahead of a Premier League meeting with Norwich on Wednesday: “I said that everybody that I have in the squad, my job is to get the maximum out of them and to try to help them and support them. And if they are willing, everybody is welcome.

“I always hope that the players want to give their best.”

Pressed further on whether Ozil, whose ability has never been in doubt, should have kicked on more over recent weeks, Arteta added: “The players want to play as well as possible, train as well as possible and then it's a tricky game.

“You have momentum, you have your team-mates to help you as well and you need confidence. It's not just one factor but I never doubt that the players want to do their best.”

While it remains to be seen whether Ozil will figure in the remainder of the current campaign, highly-rated academy graduate Saka can expect to see game time.

The 18-year-old is, however, entering the final 12 months of his current contract and is yet to agree an extension.

Club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in a similar position and while Arteta has reported no progress there, he is confident that top teenage talents can be retained.

He said: “I am not worried because I know that the club is doing their best to try to keep them [Bukayo and Folarin Balogun].

“Hopefully we can have some good news about them very soon. They know my opinion on them and how much I like working on them, the intention that I have in the future with them.

“I see them really committed and hopefully we can find the right agreement for both parties and move on, because I think there's a great future ahead of us with these kids.”