Mesut Ozil’s future at Arsenal has been up in the air since the Unai Emery’s first competitive match in charge.
The German has been little more than a pedestrian in the revolution taking place at the Emirates this season, exerting little influence in his 14 appearances to date.
Ozil has contributed only three goals and an assist as the campaign approaches halfway, but his lacklustre output isn’t the most concerning aspect of the situation.
After starting on the bench for the 3-2 defeat at Southampton last weekend, he was left out of Emery’s squad altogether for the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Tottenham on Wednesday.
Ozil - who hasn’t scored or set up a Premier League goal since late October - was supposedly omitted for “tactical reasons”, if his boss’ flimsy explanation is to be believed.
It seems a tad far-fetched that a £300,000-a-week playmaker wouldn’t be one of the first names on the team sheet in usual circumstances.
However, as has been suspected for some time now, there’s more to more Ozil and Emery’s relationship than meets the eye.
The Independent claims Arsenal are open to selling the 30-year-old amid a “lingering disagreement” between the two over the player’s tactical role.
The report reads: “One training ground source said: ‘Every player has bought into the manager’s ideas so far, except Mesut.’
"While the German sees himself as a playmaker in an advanced role, Emery wants more pressing and running work from such players, and this has been brought up at animated meetings.”
Despite the Gunners’ recent blip, it’s no wonder Emery has been more inclined to opt for other options ahead of Ozil.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi have comfortably picked up the creative slack in the absence of the former Real Madrid man with 13 assists collectively.
Because of this, Arsenal aren’t exactly struggling to find the net; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette boast 26 goals in all competitions between them.
The Londoners remain three points adrift of the top four at present and face a patchy run of fixtures to end 2018 and kick off the new year.
Their next two assignments - at home to Burnley and then away at Brighton - should see them collect six points, but a trip to Liverpool will certainly test the merit of their impressive start to the season.
Will Ozil still be at the club beyond those matches? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.