Mikel Arteta responds to Arsene Wenger’s comments on Mesut Ozil and Arsenal

Mikel Arteta has admitted that he didn’t like having to omit Mesut Ozil from his Europa League squad.

The German international has fallen completely out of favour under Arteta and after unsuccessfully trying to offload him in the summer, he remains an outcast in the Gunners squad.

Earlier this week, legendary Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger claimed that his old team were wasting the talents of Ozil, who he signed for more than £40million in 2013.

“I feel it is a waste for him,” Wenger told BBC Sport. “Firstly because he's in the years where a player of his talent can produce the most. And it's a waste for the club as well because he's a super talent, a creative talent that in the final third can create that killer pass.

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“He's been the record player of assists, so you have to find a way to get him involved again.”

And then speaking to Sky Sports, Wenger added: "Mesut Ozil is an exceptional football player. What happens at the moment between him and the club looks to be more confrontational. It's not based only on sport.

"If Ozil cannot play in the Europa League, I'm sorry, but this guy has won things, he's a world champion, he's an exceptional football player.”

But ahead of Arsenal’s visit to Man City, Arteta has claimed that the decision was based on the logistics of his squad and having to satisfy homegrown quotas for European football.

“He wasn’t the only one that is not in the squad,” Arteta said. “It was a really difficult decision for me to make because to leave players out of the squad at that level where they know that they cannot get involved is really tough.

“I don’t like it at all but the decision has to be made because we have an excess on foreign players and unfortunately we have to make that decision.

“You have to try to find a way to fit every player with their own qualities. This is our job and responsibility with all the players you have to manage.”

Where will Arsenal finish this season? Have your say here.

Despite the disagreement between the two Arsenal managers, Arteta has backed the idea of Wenger returning to the Emirates, something he hasn’t done since he left the club in 2018

On Wenger attending games, Arteta said: “I would like to see him back around us. He was a massive figure for me and he's someone that I can still learn a lot of things from and I would like to have him closer to us.

“Obviously the actual environment doesn't allow us to do it, but I think he's a figure that has to be very present in what we do at the football club because he is, in my opinion, the one who had the vision and helped this club to evolve and be what it is today.”

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