Olivier Giroud insists that the Arsenal players have never questioned Mesut Ozil's commitment to the team amid talks that he has already decided to leave the club when his contract expires in the summer or even as early as January.
The German midfielder has been in sensational form off late and produced another top-quality performance during Arsenal's win over Huddersfield, where he contributed with two assists and a goal in the 5-0 rout of the Terriers.
Ozil's performances are always under scrutiny and the midfielder has come under criticism on more than one occasion this season with a number of people questioning if his mind is still with Arsenal. The Germany international is in the final seven months of his deal with the north London club and has given no indication that he will sign an extension.
Manchester United and Barcelona are monitoring his situation, with both clubs said to be keen to sign him. Ozil can begin talks with clubs outside England in January, but it is understood that he is keen to remain in the Premier League. The Catalans, meanwhile, are said to be ready to offer the £350,000-a-week ($473,620) wages that is being demanded by the midfielder.
Ahead of his upturn in form, there was some criticism about his commitment to the team, but Giroud has made it clear that it has not been a concern among the other players at Arsenal. The French striker is keen for the club to retain the German's services after insisting that Ozil remains a key player for the team this season.
"You cannot be at the top level all the time," Giroud said, as quoted by the Mirror. "Sometimes people expect the best from you every single game because you are a top player. I can understand that. But we never had any doubts about his quality, that is for sure.
"He is a top player and we need him. He makes the best choice most of the time. He knows when he has to pass the ball or to shoot and when you are in a good position, you always think he thinks assist before scoring, even if he scored tonight.
"I am very happy for him. He is our playmaker and is a key player," the France international forward explained.