Jamie Redknapp has sensationally claimed that Mesut Ozil would still be “bored” even if he was handed an Arsenal lifeline.
The German playmaker has been frozen out of the first team by Mikel Arteta, with the manager opting to leave the £350,000-a-week star out of his Premier League and Europa League squads.
But the Gunners’ miserable form, which has seen them endure their worst start to a season since 1974-75 – coupled with their Carabao Cup exit – has led to calls for Ozil’s return.
Indeed, their problems mounted on Tuesday night after a 4-1 League Cup defeat by holders City sent them crashing out of the competition, raising the pressure on Arteta.
However Redknapp believes that Arsenal should stick by their manager – and highlighted Ozil, David Luiz and Granit Xhaka as problem players.
He told Sky Sports: “Of course, you could go and sack the manager, but the bigger problem is there’s a group of players there, there’s only three or four that if you were the manager coming in you’d say, ‘I can trust those players’.
“I’ll tell you what would happen next time, whoever comes in, David Luiz will probably play well for 10, 11 games and we’ll say, ‘he’s a good player’, then he’ll start making mistakes because he’s bored.
“You’ll have (Granit) Xhaka, thinking, ‘wow, he’s a good player as well’, he’ll then get sent off.
“The manager will probably bring (Mesut) Ozil in and everyone will go, ‘he’s the answer, we should never have left him out in the first place’.
“He’ll do it for a couple of games then won’t track and he’ll get bored as well.
“Then that will be the problem with this team. Too many of them, no matter what you do, will let you down.
“It’s a team full of kidders right now, and I feel sorry for the young players.
“The manager, you’ve either got to stick with him, and say, ‘we’ll give you time to get out a lot of the players that aren’t good enough’.”
Redknapp also admitted Arteta has to accept his role in Arsenal’s struggles this season, with the north London club facing the prospect of relegation if they don’t overcome their alarming form.
He added: “He has to be very careful. Even what he was talking about earlier on with percentages of games you should be winning, when you have a certain amount, like 25% chance of winning the match.
“You can’t insult football fans’ intelligence with things like that. You’ve just got to say it as it is, and I think that’s a real problem for Mikel Arteta.
“People are saying, ‘is he going to lose his job?’, losing 4-1 at home is not ideal. Last win they had was the 1st November against Manchester United.
“In his defence, that day, I remember doing the game and I thought, ‘they could be on to something pretty special here’.
“We saw a very talented midfield player in Partey, he looked exceptional. The way they set up, I thought, they might be good.
“Then, all of a sudden, things have gone and they are now devoid of confidence.”