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Mesut Ozil is “too long in the tooth to change his game now”, says Alan Smith, with a summer move away from Arsenal considered to be the best option for all concerned at Emirates Stadium.
Ozil has fallen out of favour under Mikel Arteta, a man he once played alongside in the Gunners midfield, and was completely overlooked as FA Cup glory was secured by the north London outfit against Chelsea.
The 31-year-old’s representatives have maintained that a contract due to run until 2021 will be honoured at Arsenal, allowing him to drop into the free agent pool next summer.
There does, however, appear to be little point in Ozil sticking around, with it likely that game time would once again prove hard to come by next season.
With that in mind, and there no indication that the German playmaker will be meeting the demands of Arteta, Smith feels a parting of ways should be sought over the coming weeks.
The former Arsenal striker told Sky Sports: "It seems that Arteta wants to draw a line under it, and convince the players he's not part of the plans. He's passed the buck to Ozil and said: 'What do you want to do about it?'
"Hopefully he leaves the club would be Arteta's reasoning. That would free up a bit of money in terms of his wages.
"It's always going to be a talking point for as long as Ozil's at the club. I don't know whether anything could happen in this transfer window, there aren't too many links with any clubs. We might end up having this situation for another year until his contract runs out. He might get used now and again, but he won't be a core figure in his plans.
"It's something Arteta could have done without. He's got enough on his plate, without constant questions about the German's future. But Arteta is decisive; if he decides somebody doesn't fit in going forward, no matter how much they're earning, he's not going to pick them. That's strong management, and I think Arsenal need that.
"Can he fit in at Arsenal? No, I don't think so. This is an era at the club where everybody has to really dig in and work incredibly hard off the ball. Ozil is too long in the tooth to change his game now, and I don't think physically he is capable of doing what Arteta wants him to do, either.