March 2, 2021

‘Ozil is a millstone around Arsenal’s neck’ – Arteta needs to sell out of favour midfielder, says Campbell

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The former Gunners striker wants to see players on the fringes of the first team squad at Emirates Stadium moved out in the current transfer window

Mesut Ozil is “the elephant in the room” at Arsenal and a “millstone” around the club’s neck, claims Kevin Campbell, with Mikel Arteta needing to make some big decisions when it comes to moving fringe players out.

The Gunners have been making positive moves in the current window. Experienced forward Willian has been snapped up as a free agent from London rivals Chelsea, while highly-rated defender Gabriel Magalhaes has been acquired from Lille.

Other deals are said to be in the pipeline, but Arteta may need to sell before he can buy.

Campbell believes there are a number of options to consider there, with Ozil and fellow outcast Matteo Guendouzi among those that could be moved on amid serious questions over their respective futures at Emirates Stadium.

The former Arsenal striker told Stadium Astro: “I think what Mikel Arteta’s done, he’s put Matteo Guendouzi in the ice cold storage in the garage hasn’t he? He’s put him in the freezer because he was challenging Arteta’s authority last season and he was out in the cold. New season, they’ve said, ‘Right, everybody starts from scratch.’

“Let’s see if Guendouzi – we know he’s got talent, but he has to have the attitude to go with it – is willing to tow the line and do what he needs to. If not, then I’m sure Arteta will sell him.

“The elephant in the room is Mesut Ozil. He doesn’t need to do anything, he’s got a year left on his contract and he says he’s staying, so whatever business they can do – if they can do any business to get him out, fine – if not, that’s a millstone round your neck to deal with.

“I think [Sead] Kolasinac is one, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, there’s talk of him going out on loan or maybe a permanent deal.

“[Ainsley] Maitland-Niles I would keep him in definitely. He’s a box spanner, he can fill in for you at right-back, left-back, centre midfield, utility man, good player, good engine. I think he’s one who could prove to be invaluable to the football club.”

Another of those to have been linked with a move elsewhere is Alexandre Lacazette, but Campbell believes the Gunners should be doing all they can to keep a proven France international forward on their books.

He added: “I like Lacazette, I really like him. I think having a midfield, a defensive shield, can play a significant part because the problem with Arsenal has been whenever they lose the ball, teams have been cutting through them too easy. I would keep him.

“Again, it’s a squad game. If you’ve got someone like Willian playing and we haven’t even mentioned Nicolas Pepe, Pepe back end of the season was coming into his own and is only going to get better.

“We’re talking about having a front three, there’s [Gabriel] Martinelli whose injured, who looked lively and got double figures last season. Good player. You think, ‘Hold on a minute, Arsenal have got some decent players.’

“Eddie Nketiah in there, maybe get him out on loan, get some more minutes in him. That’s five, six, seven players who can make a difference at the top end of the pitch.

“Arsenal’s issues have always been defensively, when they lose the ball. Chambers is another one they can cash in on to get money. Sokratis at the back, he’s another one, probably surplus to requirements. They can move some players on.

“It might not create the big transfer funds but it’s going to clear the wages, once you can clear that then you have the chance to move and shake.”