Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has admitted that midfielder Mesut Ozil will struggle to break into his “evolving” side.
The Gunners boss saw his side beat Leicester 2-0 on their way to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
It means that the north London side have made it four wins out of four in all competitions – but they have done this without highest earner Ozil.
The £350,000-a-week midfielder has been left on the fringes of Arteta’s side, not playing a minute of football for the side since lockdown.
And the manager has issued a waning to the German which suggests his challenge of getting back into the side is set to get harder.
Speaking after the club’s 2-0 Carabao Cup win over Leicester, the boss said: “The team is evolving and you can see the level they are achieving.
“We want to evolve more and play better, so we need to maintain that.
“I try to select the players that are, in my opinion, in better condition. We are picking players we believe are the best for each game and as you can see, we keep changing.
“You can see … that it is very difficult – not just for Mesut but for some to make the squad. Every week, we try to pick the right players.”
Ozil has been linked with a move away from the club throughout the summer amid rumours the club are interested in Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar.
But Arteta did not give anything away about the 31-year-old, adding: “It’s difficult for others that weren’t involved in the Premier League.
“I understand [the questions] but I have to do my job as straight as possible. I select the players in the best condition.”
It comes as fans were impressed with Ozil’s skills in the latest training footage to emerge from London Colney – but the manager gave a noncommittal response.