Mesut Ozil has been told that his “performance” behind the scenes at Arsenal will determine whether or not he comes back into favour, with technical director Edu looking for a “big” player to prove his worth.
The World Cup winner found himself frozen out towards the end of the 2019-20 campaign.
Despite being a former team-mate of Mikel Arteta, the German playmaker has been unable to nail down a regular role under a demanding coach.
He has, however, seen the slate wiped clean ahead of a new campaign.
Ozil has figured in pre-season outings, with the 31-year-old being given an opportunity to earn a starting berth in the final 12 months of his contract in north London.
A desire to see out those terms has been stated on a regular basis, despite incessant transfer talk, and Edu hopes a proven performer will become more than an expensive squad player.
The Gunners director, who once filled a role in the club’s midfield himself, told reporters of Ozil: “Here, we are talking of course about performance.
“Players with performance in training, the game, they are going to have opportunities because Mikel already showed that. It is for everyone.
“We know how important everybody is. I know how important and how big the player is when you mention Mesut but in the end we are talking about performance here.
“If he is performing well, people are performing well, who is the best in the training, the best in the game, I’m sure Mikel is going to select them to be in the squads to play games or to be on the bench.”
Ozil has not taken in a competitive outing for Arsenal since March 7, in a 1-0 victory over West Ham.
He was either benched or left out completely when football returned from a coronavirus-enforced break in mid-June, with Arteta favouring other options.
The Gunners have helped themselves to FA Cup and Community Shield triumphs since then, but a new Premier League campaign will be opened on Saturday when taking in a London derby date with newly-promoted Fulham and it could be that Ozil is brought back in from the cold.