The ex-Gunners winger can’t see the World Cup winner leaving this summer, but says change is needed if Mikel Arteta is to deliver long-term success
Change is required at Arsenal this summer, says Paul Merson, but it is unlikely that Mesut Ozil will be among those heading for the exits because “everyone hates him” for being on £350,000-a-week.
The World Cup-winning midfielder committed to a lucrative new contract at Emirates Stadium back in January 2018.
The Gunners dug deep to keep a creative influence on their books, but questions have been asked of the value found in a big-money agreement.
Transfer talk has been sparked on a regular basis, but Ozil has stated that he intends to honour his agreement through to 2021.
Merson concedes that finding a buyer for the German is virtually impossible, but Mikel Arteta is considered to be in need of a squad overhaul in the next window if Arsenal are to become competitive again.
The former Gunners ace told the Daily Star: “Unless Mikel Arteta gets some players in and out of Arsenal this summer this team is going to finish seventh or eighth next season.
“I’m not surprised Mesut Ozil’s agent says he’s not going anywhere though. Where can he go on that money? If he was on £50,000-a-week everybody would be trying to sign him but because he’s on £350,000 everyone hates him.
“Arteta needs to get players out though, and I don’t think he’ll be too upset that Sokratis says he’ll go if he’s not playing enough. I like players who are honest like that to be fair to him. It’s better than being prepared to just sit around picking up your money.
“Arsenal need to get their wage bill down and get rid of players who don’t have a future there. So Sokratis is expendable.
“But I hope Arteta gets to bring in a few too because he hasn’t really got his own players there yet.
“He will need a good pre-season and some new signings but I can see progress already even though they went out of the Europa League.”
With Arsenal having bowed out of continental competition, they need a top-four finish in order to secure a return to the Champions League for 2020-21.
Arteta’s side will be back in Premier League action on Saturday when they take in a derby date with West Ham.