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Wenger raises questions over Ozil's effort at Arsenal

Wenger and Ozil had a very close relationship when the Frenchman was in charge. Credit: PA

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the decision to offer Mesut Ozil a long-term contract last year may have left the German in a "comfort zone".

Ozil ended speculation about his future last year by committing himself to the Gunners until the summer of 2021, with Wenger still at the helm.

But Ozil has fallen out of favour under Wenger's successor Unai Emery, having started just one game since Boxing Day to once more bring scrutiny as to whether he will remain at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger, speaking after being honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards, said: "I feel that the length of the contract has nothing to do normally with the selection of the team. But sometimes there are special cases.

"Most of the time now we think when we sign a player for five years we have a good player for five years. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they practice, they play their best. Because they might be in their comfort zone.

"He has a contract but the problem is that if you want to buy a player like him you have to spend £100million.

"And to maintain the value of the player, beyond the Ozil case, it is more about the way football is structured.

"To buy players of top, top quality you need £100million. So the decision you have to make is whether you re-sign the player, who costs us nothing, or do we have the money to buy a new player?"

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Former Arsenal boss Wenger targeting 2019 return to management

Credit: PA

Arsene Wenger says he will be back in management at the start of 2019 - but he does not know where yet.

The 69-year-old, who ended his 22-year reign at Arsenal at the end of last season, is looking forward to returning to the game.

Asked when he would be back in management, the Frenchman told Sky Sports News: "At the beginning of the year.

"It will seem odd to go somewhere else but I can't tell you (where) because I don't know where I'll be. I'll be somewhere - but I don't know where.

"I have had a good rest and watched football a lot. I have many good memories, so I miss them."

Wenger is pleased with Arsenal's progress this season - the Gunners have impressed after losing their first two Premier League games under Unai Emery and currently lie four points off top spot.

He said: "When Arsenal win I am happy. I felt I worked very hard and I think I left it (the club) in good shape.

"After that, I'm a supporter like anyone else - I want them to win football games."

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