Özil’s refusal to leave north London leaves Mikel Arteta in a tough spot considering all signs point to the German being surplus to requirements

Mesut Özil retains his unnatural gift for dominating Arsenal’s narrative. This may yet be the week when, in announcing the signing of Willian and confirming Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has signed his new contract, they take their first clear steps towards rebounding from a tormented season and showing their intent to progress under Mikel Arteta. But Özil’s most recent intervention, stating in an interview that he has no desire to depart, brought back into focus a long-standing and expensive problem that is no nearer to resolution.

Arsenal already have a battle to master the optics given, for all the relief Aubameyang’s retention in particular would give those whose only care is for the football, the imminent deals will cost more than £400,000 a week combined. That may look conservative when bonuses are factored in. They come at a time when 55 staff elsewhere in the club are subject to proposed redundancy; if Özil sticks around for the final year of his contract, keeping another £350,000 on the weekly wage bill, the picture looks even more warped.

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