Mikel Arteta: Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi Can Reverse Arsenal Fortunes

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LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Arsenal's Mesut Ozil is substituted for Matteo Guendouzi during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Everton FC at Emirates Stadium on February 23, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has said midfielders Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi could still have futures at the Emirates – provided that they show the right attitude.

Arsenal’s manager has likened the duo’s situations to that of Granit Xhaka earlier in the season. The Swiss international has returned to prominence after being stripped of the captaincy by Unai Emery in October.

Mikel Arteta Says Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi Can Reverse Fortunes

How Xhaka Turned it Around

After Granit Xhaka confronted and swore at his own fans while being substituted in a league game against Crystal Palace eight months ago, there appeared no way back for the 27-year-old.

The Swiss international, though, has responded impressively since that setback and is now settled and performing well for the club. Arteta credits the player’s attitude for the turnaround: “The challenge with Granit was to convince him that there was still a place for him here, that I had big belief in him and that things can turn around pretty quickly in this industry. He had to send the right messages, first of all, he had to believe that he could do it and if that was the case, we were going to support him all the way through.”

Why Ozil and Guendouzi Can Do the Same for Mikel Arteta

Neither Ozil nor Guendouzi have been named in any of Arteta’s last seven matchday squads. Amid questions relating to his work rate and attitude off the ball, German World Cup winner Ozil clearly has a long way to go in order to win over his manager.

The same is true of young Frenchman Guendouzi. The midfielder has not featured at all for the Gunners after he grabbed the throat of Brighton & Hove Albion striker Neal Maupay in the aftermath of the Seagulls’ victory over Arsenal last month.

But for Arteta, the situation regarding Xhaka applies throughout the squad, meaning there is always a route back into the fold: “If you are willing and if you are consistent and you really want to do it there is always a way back.”

The manager’s message to his disgruntled stars is clear: “That applies for any player and any member of the staff. All players know this. If you show that, that you decide to do the best not only for yourself but for the team and for the club, I think everyone will welcome you.”

FA Cup Win Can Convince Aubameyang to Stay

Elsewhere, Arteta admits the future of Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains unclear. He hopes, though, that victory in the FA Cup final in early August could convince the player to stay.

“When I was talking about the uncertain things that we have on the table, obviously he is one of them,” remarked Arteta.

But victory against Chelsea in that final could prove the catalyst for Aubameyang to stay in North London. Arteta told reporters that if the striker “can see that success” is the outcome of the direction in which the club is heading, he would feel ready to commit to a new contract.

 

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