Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal says reports claiming that teammate Mesut Ozil has an issue with manager Unai Emery are false.
Ozil has been criticised by many for his lack of effort in recent weeks and rumours suggesting that he and Emery are not on the best of terms emerged when the German did not play a part in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over West Ham last month.
However, left-back Monreal claims that these reports are not true and says Ozil did not play a part because he had a cold.
“People have been a bit unfair with him,” Monreal told reporters whilst on international duty with Spain.
“He is a very famous player and obviously people love talking about him. Recently, it is always bad things. Like last time, he was sick and that’s why he didn’t play.
“People started to invent that he had a problem with the manager. It wasn’t like that. He got a cold, he was sick, that’s it. That’s why he didn’t play.”
This is not the first time that midfielder Ozil has come in for criticism during his time at Arsenal, with former Gunners defender Martin Keown previously claiming that the 29-year old was not putting in enough effort for Arsenal.
But Monreal has defended his fellow teammate and says Ozil is just a laid back person in general.
“People must understand that every player is completely different,” Monreal added.
“He is like that (quiet) and 10 years ago he was the same. So you can’t expect on the pitch that he starts to fight, to talk with the referee because he never did it. He is not going to change in this case.
“The important thing is he plays at his highest level, gives a lot of assists, scores a lot of goals and basically helps the team.
“That’s what he knows. He doesn’t know how to go up to a player and grab him by the throat.”
Emery must find a role for Ozil or sell him, says Merson
Ozil is yet to register a goal or an assist in 3 appearances for Arsenal so far this season.
Much has been made of Emery’s preferred style of play, with the Spaniard encouraging his players to press from the front, and former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson does not feel that Ozil is suited to this particular system.
“I’m a big fan of Mesut Ozil, but he splits opinion,” Merson told talkSPORT.
“I think he’s a top player, but I don’t think he’ll be able to play in this team of squeezing, it’s just not his game.
“For me, you always play your best players, so he should be playing in that team.
“At £350k-a-week, you’ve got to make a space for him, Arsenal can’t afford to be giving him that sort of money and not play him.
“But if not, you’ve got to get rid of him.
“It’s a hard one. If I was manager, I would want him in the team but then I’ll be watching the game and I’d be thinking, ‘what did I pick him for?’”