Arsenal manager Unai Emery wants the club to find an exit route for Mesut Ozil before the end of the January transfer window to free up funds to sign his own players.
The Gunners have taken only two points from their last five Premier League away games and Emery’s decision to leave Ozil out of the squad entirely against West Ham — while including teenager Eddie Nketiah — raised eyebrows further.
It was a pointed instruction to the club’s board that, as far as Emery is concerned, the German is dispensable.
Here, Emery said: ‘The players who were here were the ones who deserved to be at this match. Sometimes he is helping us, at other moments not helping us because of injury or because maybe the match is not for him.’
Sokratis Papastathopoulos hinted that the dressing room might be behind Ozil when the defender said the team lacked quality in the final third, on a day Arsenal had only two shots on target.
He said: ‘It is not about the two shots on target. Look at how many chances we would have had if we had done better with the last pass. This is the problem.’
Emery conceded that his team’s chance of finishing in the top four is dwindling. ‘Now it’s more difficult, it’s clear. The most important thing for us is to recover our confidence.’