Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has slammed Mesut Ozil for not working hard and has urged Arsene Wenger to drop the World-Cup winner with Germany from the Gunners' starting lineup.
The 28-year-old, who moved to the Emirates from Real Madrid in 2013, has less than a year left on his contract. He has not signed a new deal and failure from the north London club to tie him to an extension will see the attacking midfielder leave the north London club on a free transfer.
Wenger's side remained unbeaten in all competitions since their 4-0 defeat to Liverpool in October. Ozil has started in one match across all competitions for Arsenal since the loss to the Reds. Merson claims Arsenal are reaping rewards by dropping him on the bench.
"Yeah, I do [Ozil will struggle for a regular place in the team]," Merson told talkSPORT.
"You look at any world class player in the world we've seen over the last 15 or 20 years – you know one thing they do? They work hard. They've got the class, they've got the skill, they've got everything, but they work hard at the same time – that's what makes them world class.
"Ozil doesn't do that part of the game, and if you don't do that you can't play in this day and age.
"I've seen Zinedine Zidane and he worked hard. I played against David Beckham enough times at Man United and you couldn't believe how hard he worked up and down the right wing – it was scary. These players worked hard for the team.
"The penny has got to drop with Ozil, you can't just play when you're on the ball. And to be fair to Arsene, he's taken him out of the team and they've reaped the rewards in the end."
Wenger earlier admitted the contract talks with Ozil have "slowed down a little bit" since the end of the summer transfer window. The German international is already attracting interest from the Premier League and other European clubs.
Ozil's former manager Jose Mourinho is reportedly keen on reuniting with the player at Manchester United after the end of this season. In addition to this, Inter Milan have also confirmed their interest in the former Real Madrid star.
It should be seen whether Ozil will sign a new deal at Arsenal or will he join United or other European clubs on a free transfer in the next summer transfer window.