Arsene Wenger has suggested that Mesut Özil's contract may have left the Germany and Arsenal star in a 'comfort zone' at the club.
Özil has started just 13 Premier League games for the club this season, and has been shunned by manager Unai Emery throughout the Spaniard's first six months at the club – just a year after becoming the club's highest paid player in a deal set to run until 2021.
Speaking after being honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards, Wenger said: "I feel that the length of the contract has nothing to do normally with the selection of the team. But sometimes there are special cases.
"Most of the time now we think when we sign a player for five years we have a good player for five years. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they practice, they play their best. Because they might be in their comfort zone. He has a contract but the problem is that if you want to buy a player like him you have to spend £100m.
"And to maintain the value of the player, beyond the Özil case, it is more about the way football is structured. To buy players of top, top quality you need £100m. So the decision you have to make is whether you re-sign the player, who costs us nothing, or do we have the money to buy a new player?"
Arsenal's next game comes against BATE Borisov on Thursday night in the Europa League, and will look to bounce back after losing the away leg 1-0 in Belarus, with Özil not even making the travelling squad for the match.