Arsenal desperate to axe Mesut Ozil this summer and get massive wages off pay roll

Boss Unai Emery has decided the former German international does not figure in his long-term plans.

But the club fear Ozil’s £350,000-a-week contract will make it almost impossible to find a buyer. There were no offers for him last January when he was into the last six months of his old contract.

And there is even less interest now in the playmaker, 30, who is still valued at around £40million.

Ozil, a £42.5m buy from Real Madrid in 2013, insists he is happy and settled at Arsenal and is willing to stay and fight for his place.

But the club are finding it impossible to stomach the idea of its top earner missing so many games — and want him off the payroll.

The dilemma they face is Ozil’s £18m-a-year salary puts him beyond the reach of all but Europe’s elite clubs.

The player is in no rush to return to Germany after the racism row which led to him retiring from international football last year. And though he remains hugely popular in Turkey, there are no Super Lig teams who can meet his ambitions or his wages.

Senior figures at Arsenal now bitterly regret the decision to break the Emirates pay structure to keep him last year.

Ex-chief exec Ivan Gazidis feared Ozil was about to leave on a free and was panicked into agreeing an eye-watering new deal to 2021.

But Emery has found it impossible to accommodate Ozil in his system and is making it clear he wants him out. He was not even included among the substitutes for Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at West Ham.

Emery made no attempt to sugar coat his decision and declared: “The players here today were those that deserved to be here.”

Ozil has started just 13 of 32 games for Arsenal this term and regularly declared himself unfit and unavailable.

He has not scored or had an assist since the 3-1 win against Leicester in October — and has not featured at all since being subbed at half-time at Brighton on Boxing Day. Yet even when fit, Ozil does not feature in Emery’s strongest side as he cannot provide the work-rate and commitment the manager demands.

His cause has not been helped by Emery’s growing concerns about Arsenal’s defensive frailties.

He has become reliant on three centre-backs, two wing-backs and two holding midfielders in recent weeks.

That leaves no room for Ozil as one of just three attackers in the formation.

Saturday’s loss at West Ham leaves Arsenal six points adrift of the top four.

Defeat at home to Chelsea on Saturday would make Champions League qualification almost impossible.

Yet Emery has been told there is no money for new players this month and he must get by with loans.

He knows it is impossible to free up some much-needed funds by offloading Ozil in this transfer window.

But he will not stand in the way of a summer departure and hopes a deal can be concluded quickly.

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