Unai Emery says Mesut Özil needs to adapt to different positions at Arsenal

Mesut Özil is back in contention for a place in the Arsenal starting lineup at Cardiff but the challenge of adapting to the needs of his new manager remains.

Unai Emery strongly denied he had fallen out with the club’s highest-paid player but said Özil would be expected to show flexibility and play in positions other than his preferred No 10 role.

“He’s training normally with the group, in every session this week,” Emery said of Özil, after the German missed last Saturday’s victory over West Ham with a suspected bout of laryngitis. “He’s OK. After this, it’s about where he is better for us and also about the opposition’s style of play.

“I like the possibility to have the player play different positions on the pitch. It depends each match and is the same for other players too. For that, Mesut has played with me on the right wing and also as No 10 and we are going to continue to do that.”

Özil played on the right of midfield in Arsenal’s opening fixture against Manchester City, before moving to the centre against Chelsea, only to be substituted in the second half of the 3-2 defeat.

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“Our demands are very high, very great, but I want to ask every player every day to give us more,” Emery said. “Not just Mesut, the team, the squad. We need to push, we need to have ambition, we need to have desire to improve every day. This is my message for the team, for the squad and for every player.”

Emery did not deny that he had attempted to sign Özil last year for Paris Saint-Germain but he hit out at claims the pair were at loggerheads. “The news is not true,” he said. “In my career, I do not stop for news when it’s not true. When the news isn’t true, it isn’t true.”


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