IT all comes back to Mesut Ozil.
Every chat at Arsenal, every transfer negotiation, every whisper is always about the troubled attacker.
Getty – Contributor7 Mesut Ozil has fallen out of favour under the management of Unai Emery
Twitter7 Mesut Ozil has used social media to attempt to show his commitment to Arsenal
Nobody knows what to do with this £350,000-a-week footballer. Ozil is being blamed for everything.
From Aaron Ramsey’s impending move to Juventus, to the sale of Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United last January and Sven Mislintat’s power grab, it is all about that blasted contract.
Ozil is happily playing his own game, antagonising every member of staff over the last week with his social media posts.
The Arsenal No 10, axed from the squad beaten 1-0 at West Ham last time out, is letting it be known he is really busting a gut to get out on the grass.
Getty – Contributor7 German midfielder Mesut Ozil is the highest-paid player at the Emirates
There are pictures of him in the weights room and photos of him running around in training, proving to one-eyed Arsenal fans how much he wants to help out.
Unai Emery is having none of it.
Arsenal’s manager, along with an increasing number of players, is tired of the mood swings.
Nobody knows whether Ozil, who has not played since Boxing Day, will even say “hello” or “good morning” any more.
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Getty – Contributor7 Mesut Ozil was dropped for last weekend's 1-0 defeat to West Ham
They are wary of him, putting distance between themselves and the club’s most talented player as they try to make a dent on the top four.
Under the previous regime, Arsene Wenger indulged him.
Wenger’s exit last summer, after 22 years with the North London club, created a power vacuum.
They are all fighting for their little piece of turf, getting all territorial as they try to work out the way ahead.
Emery, feted when he led Arsenal on a 22-game unbeaten run, is desperately trying to do it without Ozil.
The form guide ahead of Chelsea’s visit tomorrow evening is not good.
Arsenal’s crushing 5-1 defeat at Liverpool over Christmas and last week’s 1-0 loss at West Ham has set off some alarm bells.
Emery wants players in, particularly central defenders, but the recruitment department is in crisis.
Mislintat, the shadowy figure who arrived from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, was supposed to be a whizz behind the scenes.
He is a mysterious figure, quietly trying to establish himself at one of English football’s leading clubs.
Getty Images – Getty7 Declan Rice scored the winner as West Ham thumped Arsenal 1-0
Mislintat is miffed, surprised his skillset has not been tapped into properly since his Emirates arrival.
The money just isn’t there, especially after Ozil signed one of the biggest contracts in Premier League history.
They are still squabbling about Sanchez’s exit and the failure to sell him to Manchester City for £60million.
They lost a fortune by offloading him instead to Manchester United in exchange for the fitful Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
To quell fan unrest they handed Ozil the contract that still has more than £68m outstanding.
That jaw-dropping deal, signed off on his way out by Ivan Gazidis, has cornered the club.
Getty – Contributor7 Transfer chief Sven Mislintat is allegedly on the brink of leaving Arsenal
They did not want to lose Aaron Ramsey, but could not match his demands for parity with Ozil.
They feared Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, joint leading Premier League goalscorer with Harry Kane and Mo Salah, would be next.
Ozil’s acolytes often trot out his mesmerising performance against Leicester earlier this season.
Granted, it was one of his greatest games in an Arsenal shirt — but they are paying the big bucks for him to take charge against the likes of Chelsea.
It was Emery’s decision to haul him off at Stamford Bridge last August, dragging him off because he failed to fit into his pattern of play.
The following week, before the home game with West Ham, Ozil was signed off sick with a nasal issue.
Ask around at Arsenal and they will tell you that he is really getting up everybody’s nose.
Getty Images – Getty7 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 14 league goals for Arsenal this season