Arsenal: Arteta believes team have 'taken handbrake off'
Arsenal are desperate to get rid of Mesut Ozil this month but with the midfielder standing firm over his transfer stance, the club may be forced to part ways with two of his team-mates instead.
Instead, Ozil looks set to leave the club at the end of the season, when his contract runs out, after falling out of favour under Mikel Arteta.
The German midfielder has not played for Arsenal since March and was not named in the squad lists for the first half of the Premier League season and the Europa League.
However the former Real Madrid star, who is one of the highest-paid players at the club, may well feature for the Gunners again.
Arsenal are looking to offload a number of players on loan in January to trim the squad, raising the possibility that Ozil could be registered for the second half of the season.
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According to The Athletic, Arsenal are looking to move on a number of first-team stars who are close to Ozil.
Arteta has already allowed Matteo Guendouzi and Sead Kolasinac – who are both close friends of the German – to depart on loan to Hertha Berlin and Schalke respectively.
And two more of his close allies – Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi – have been made available for an exit this month.
It remains to be seen if the pair will leave, though there have been rumours that Sokratis, who is wanted by Napoli and Fenerbache, could even be released from his contract.
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Mustafi, meanwhile, has also fallen down the pecking order this season and was linked with a shock move to Barcelona before the Spaniards ruled out a swoop.
It’s unclear what Arsenal’s thinking is behind getting rid of Ozil’s friends, but the club remain intent on parting ways with the World Cup winner.
However Arteta recently admitted that the club will assess the future of the out-of-favour midfielder at the end of the January transfer window.
When asked about a potential return for the 32-year-old, Arteta told reporters: “We will see what happens in the transfer window and we will assess that at the end.”
Arteta also said the club would not look to cut short the contracts of players that are not in his plans.
“You have to respect the players’ contracts,” he added.
“What you can do is just try to be open with them, tell them your intentions, the role that they have in the team and why that is.
“They are entitled to make the decision in their lives because they have a contract here.
“Some would like to move because they are not playing and some would like to stay. That’s something we cannot decide by ourselves.”
Arsenal, who are 13th in the table on 20 points, visit struggling West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
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