Press conference

Arteta on… Sokratis, Ozil and a reduced squad size

This January transfer window has been defined more by outgoings than incomings for us so far.

William Saliba and Sean Kolasinac have left on loan, while Sokratis departed this week and there is talk that Mesut Ozil could also be on his way.


Mikel Arteta was asked about the deals in his press conference on Thursday - and this is what he had to say:


on allowing Sokratis to leave...

Yes, first of all I want to thank him because he is such a professional and great person to work with. It's a shame because this season we have a lot of central defenders, we are overloaded with foreign players and I had to make a decision. It was a tough one and to be fair he took it really, really well, he has always been really supportive and helpful, so from the bottom of my heart I wish him the best. It has been a pleasure to work with him and I wish the best for him and his family in the next chapter.


on the latest on Mesut Ozil and when the deal will go through...

Yeah but the quarantine situation is making that final step the longest ever because they have a lot of restrictions there. There are things that have to be done before announcing anything. I think everything seems to be going okay, but I cannot say definitely what is going to happen, so as soon as we can, don't worry, we will mention it.


on the decision to let him leave...

Yes, for many different reasons [it was a tough decision]... there is a history here what happened in the past few years, how things developed, how I think the team should evolve for the future, and his position at the club. A player with such an importance that is not playing, that is not in the squad, it is a really difficult situation to sustain for both parties because the player wants to play and we cannot give him the minutes. Obviously that situation has to be resolved.


on Ozil as a player...

He is a great footballer, a really talented footballer, a player who has done a lot for the football club but at the moment I want to take the team in a different direction. If we were to have more options, then maybe he was part of some plans - he was part of some plans at the start, and he wasn't at the end.


on maintaining team spirit in a smaller group…

For me the important thing is that everybody feels involved and that they have a chance. They’re all fighting for a place but at the end they need to feel that they have the opportunity when they perform to get the chance to play. When you’re completely out that is out of the equation and then it makes it really difficult to find that motivation.

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