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Mesut Ozil is “not an asshole”, says fellow World Cup winner Lukas Podolski, with the German playmaker considered to still be “good enough” to play a prominent role at Arsenal.
Mikel Arteta has taken to dropping a midfielder he once played alongside out of his plans for the short and long-term at Emirates Stadium.
Fresh rounds of transfer talk have been sparked as a result, although Ozil maintains that he will see out a contract in north London that has less than 12 months left to run.
If he is to stick around, then it could be that a clean slate is passed in his direction at some stage.
Podolski hopes that will prove to be the case, with the former Arsenal forward of the opinion that Ozil has been cast in an unfair light as he continues to attract criticism for his actions on and off the field.
“He's good enoughwith support from the coach and the team, but something has happened with the club, you can feel that,” Podolskitold The Athletic.
“Is he in a disagreement with the club? When I talk to him, we don't want to talk about that kind of stuff. It's his situation, him and his agent have to deal with that.
“He's a good character — he's not an asshole. He doesn't do interviews where he speaks badly of his team-mates or of Arsenal and it's a shame we have this situation because everyone is losing. Ozil is sat in the stands, Arsenal are paying him and there is no winner.”
Ozil has been frozen out as the Gunners seek to move in a different direction.
Ex-club captain Arteta has handed the first managerial role of his fledgling coaching career and been charged with the task of recapturing former glories.
Podolski believes the Spaniard is capable of delivering on expectation, but admits there are no quick fixes to be found by a club that ended the 2019-20 Premier League campaign down in eighth spot.
“I hope better times are coming with Mikel Arteta,” added a man who made82 appearances for Arsenal. “I played with him and when he took over I could see improvements. The team talked together, they ran together, but still they only had one special player – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
“It’s not like the rest are sh*t, but they’re not world-class. Look at Liverpool, they have top or world-class players in every position,but maybe that’s not the target for Arsenal right now.
“Maybe just reaching the Champions League was good enough for them, maybe they knew they had no chance of winning the Premier League,but they didn’t come close to either of those things.”