Arsenal will need to offload Mesut Ozil before Unai Emery can bring in some top signings, according to Paul Merson.
The former Germany international has struggled to hold down a place in Emery’s team since the Spanish manager’s appointment as Arsene Wenger’s replacement in the summer.
Ozil hasn’t started a Premier League game since a 3-2 loss to Southampton at St Mary’s last month to raise questions about his long-term future at the north London side.
The Arsenal number 10 did come off the bench in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday night but was powerless to prevent the Gunners from suffering a 3-1 loss to Manchester United.
The 30-year-old is the highest earner at Arsenal after Ozil signed a new long-term deal with the Gunners in February 2018.
Arsenal have made some progress under Emery this season but there are some clear areas of weakness in the Gunners team.
Emery’s side lack pace on the wings and the Spanish head coach needs to address his defensive issues at the back.
Arsenal have conceded 32 times in 23 games in the Premier League this season to highlight their problems across the back four.
Former Gunners star Merson believes Ozil needs to be sold to allow Emery to strengthen his squad.
“If this was in a book, you’d throw the book in the sea as it would be so unbelievable for such a big football club,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“You shouldn’t let £50m players’ contracts run down, it is is a joke. The way the club is being run at the moment and the players that have been let go, I worry for Arsenal.
“I think the Arsene Wenger contract talk dominated the agenda at Arsenal so much, the club took their eye off sorting out contracts for their key players. A top football club shouldn’t be allowing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere to leave on the cheap.
“Arsenal won’t be able to buy anyone until they can get Ozil off the books. If Arsenal want to attract the big players for £50m-£60m then those players will want to be on Ozil’s wages. Arsenal can’t afford to do that. Then players will look elsewhere.”
Arsenal have lost to Manchester City, Chelsea FC, Southampton, Liverpool FC and West Ham United in the Premier League this season.
The Gunners will take on Cardiff City at The Emirates in their next Premier League game on Tuesday 29 January.
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