Mesut Ozil’s situation at Arsenal is becoming like a “comedy sketch”, says Andrew Cole.
Despite previously confirming he was fit to face BATE Borisov in the Europa League on Thursday, Arsenal head coach Unai Emery left Ozil out of the travelling party, before losing 1-0 in Belarus.
Soon after the travelling squad was confirmed on Wednesday, Ozil posted a positive tweet seemingly confirming his fitness with pictures of him training with team-mates, but also tweeted his support for the club after the result on Thursday evening.
Speaking on The Debate, Cole was bemused by the situation, and suggested Emery’s reluctance to play him because of his work rate should be put to one side, such is the German’s quality.
“It’s becoming a bit of a comedy sketch at the moment,” said Cole. “We know how talented he is.
“The manager has decided maybe he doesn’t want him in the team, he doesn’t work hard enough or whatever, but sometimes when you have that luxury, I think some of the boys in the team would be prepared to work a little bit harder to get him on the ball to produce that magic.
“Arsenal over the previous years, when Wenger was there, did that. You’ve got to play your best players when you need them, and Ozil is one of Arsenal’s best.
“If you asked Lacazette and Aubameyang: ‘Do you want Mesut to play?’ they’d say yes all day long, all day long! It’s really, really strange.”
Also speaking on The Debate, Neil Lennon admitted Ozil may be a divisive character, but insists big clubs will come after him if he is sold.
“You have a talent like that, and it might come down to man management,” said former Celtic and Hibs manager Lennon on The Debate.
“He has certainly been a divisive character over the last few years. He’s like Marmite, some love him, some don’t! For me, I love watching him play.
“He does get criticised a lot for his work rate, or lack of work rate, but his stats are up there for distance covered with many other players. He will certainly find a place somewhere, because he’s got the game.”