Mesut Ozil's Arsenal future is in doubt just months after the German signed a massive new deal at the club, with manager Unai Emery hinting that a positional change might have been behind the pair's reported falling out.
The official line from the manager and the club is that Ozil missed Saturday's game against West Ham through illness after he called in sick on Friday, but a number of factors - including the fact that he spent an hour in the dressing room on matchday, which would be unusual for an ill player - have raised questions about the truth behind his absence.
Mesut Ozil gets ill a lot— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) August 25, 2018
Emery revealed that he had a conversation with Ozil about his tactical responsibilities both in the upcoming West Ham game and in the previous weekend's fixture against Chelsea, which saw the German subbed off early in an Arsenal defeat, with Ozil reporting his illness shortly after the chat.
“Two days ago I spoke with him about things tactically for this match and the last match," Emery said. "And he said to me he was sick two days ago. On Friday, after my conversation on Thursday, he continued to stay off sick. We spoke with the doctor and decided it was better for him to stay at home.’’
Asked if he had planned to change Ozil's position and role for Saturday's game, Emery would only reply 'maybe'.
The Spaniard also insisted that he would take responsibility if any of Ozil's teammates became unwell after his time spent mingling with them on Saturday, saying: “He came for one hour and stayed for one hour in the dressing room with the players.
“He was not 100 per cent good but he stayed with us for a while. I prefer that if he feels good, he stays with us here and not at home. And he felt better today [Saturday] so he is with us. I prefer that. Maybe tomorrow another player is sick also – that is because of me.”