Mesut Ozil remains an enigma for Unai Emery.
There's no doubting his talent, as the German showcased in his early years in north London. But those moments of quality have become far too infrequent recently and it's time for Arsenal to cut their losses on their top earner.
The polarizing 30-year-old still has his supporters, with club legend Ian Wright a firm defender of the playmaker, laying blame for his poor season squarely at Emery's feet.
Lmao good luck getting him out of the club with the wages he's on. I doubt even the Chinese clubs would touch him. Best bet is he'll run his contract down and leave on a free— Billy (@b1lly7h3k1dd) May 30, 2019
Fellow club legend Paul Merson has a very different viewpoint on the situation though and has persistently called the player's work rate into question. Merson's sentiment is often echoed from the stands, with many fans making their views clear and wanting rid of the former World Cup Winner.
The simple fact for many is that they cannot justify his sizeable wage packet anymore. There was a little panic when Alexis Sanchez jumped ship and Ozil was offered a bumper contract believed to be in excess of £350k-per-week.
Compared to the comparatively modest £110k-per-week reported wage of the recently departed Aaron Ramsey, it puts into context just how much of the wage bill is directed towards Ozil. The German is in fact, believed to earn almost as much as 50-goal duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette combined.
Add to that his estimated £30m market value and Emery stands to receive a significant boost to his summer war chest simply by offloading Ozil. After losing the Europa League final to Chelsea, the Spaniard is expected to be handed just £45m to overhaul the problems in his current squad.
But financial motivations aside, it's more important for Emery to sell Ozil as soon as possible to remove the divisive stigma that he creates. His expensive reputation and the fleeting moments of brilliance will always hang over the squad if he doesn't play.
Some fans are saying THEY would rather sell Aubameyang and lacazette but keep Mesut Ozil are you dumb or braindead— Lewi Lambert (@LewiLambert) June 1, 2019
But when he does play and doesn't turn up, like he too frequently does, Emery must bear the brunt of the fans' furore for continuing to select him. It's a lose-lose situation for the boss - one that is so detrimental to him as he attempts to build his team and execute his vision.
The Ozil conundrum will continue to reflect negatively on the manager with every defeat Arsenal suffer. There is no correct answer, and it threatens to overshadow another season unless Emery can move him on. Only then can he truly focus on the larger task at hand: restoring Arsenal's Champions League ambitions.