Arsenal have been urged to bring the “tremendously sad story” of Mesut Ozil to an end, with Charlie Nicholas saying it is “time to say farewell” to the German and a number of defenders.
A World Cup-winning playmaker has just completed a sixth season in north London.
There have been plenty of highs during that time, but just as many lows for a man who has divided opinion and faced questions of his contribution throughout a spell in English football.
A move elsewhere has been mooted for a while, dispute being tied to a lucrative contract, and Nicholas believes the time has come for the Gunners to move in a different direction.
The ex-Arsenal forward told Sky Sports of Ozil: “It’s a tremendously sad story because he’s a seriously talented footballer.
“But talented footballers, like everything else in the modern game, there is no passenger allowed in a team.
“He sometimes sacrifices a bit of his game to assist other people and help other people, but it’s not working because some of the players he is working with don’t quite get what he is about.
“The sad story is that he hasn’t done it. He just simply hasn’t done it on the big nights, on the big occasion.
“I don’t think it’s all about the wage for Ozil, I think he wants to be loved and treated as if he’s a star.
“He isn’t a star anymore at Arsenal. It’s time to say farewell.”
Ozil is not the only player Nicholas would discard this summer, with the Scot calling on Unai Emery to rip up his defensive options and start again.
“[Ainsley] Maitland-Niles I feel sorry for because he’s not defensive-minded, he is more of a central midfield player and a good athlete.
“But he’s not getting taught how to defend by these players who are on survival course – [Shkodran] Mustafi, [Laurent] Koscielny.
“Koscielny has been in the deep end now for three years. I know there are injuries in there.
“Arsene Wenger, when we were critical of him and it was tough to do, when he started playing [Nacho] Monreal as a centre-back, we all knew Arsenal were in trouble.
“I’m sorry for isolating these individuals because they give every ounce that they have but, at the end of the day, they aren’t good enough defensively.”