Legendary former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour has claimed that the current friction between Arsenal manager Unai Emery and the Gunners’ playmaker Mesut Ozil could ultimately lead to the Spanish coach losing his job.
In his Highbury career, Parlour made over 400 appearances for the north London club, winning three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.
Now, as reported by Metro, the ex-Arsenal man worries that the power held by certain players could undermine Emery’s position at the Emirates Stadium.
Ozil is Arsenal’s highest paid player, earning £350,000-a-week, according to Spotrac. However, the 30-year-old has scarcely featured for the Gunners in recent weeks and seemingly has no place in the Spaniard’s plans.
Emery had trouble with a big-earning star in Neymar at his previous club PSG, and Parlour said: “Neymar ended up getting Emery the sack… He lost the dressing room and Neymar was pulling the strings there. Maybe it could be the same at Arsenal.”
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Parlour thinks Emery could struggle to rid himself of Ozil too: “He’s on £350,000-a-week. Who is going to pay that sort of money?
“He could stick his heels in and sit out his contract.”
Parlour is right that Ozil is in a position of real power at the Emirates Stadium, but the notion that this situation could lead to Emery’s exit seems far-fetched. It would perhaps be different if the 47-year-old was responsible for Ozil’s contract, but the German was handed his new terms during Arsene Wenger’s reign.
What’s more, Emery is unlikely to be the individual most desperate to see Ozil leave the club. Given Arsenal’s dire financial straits – evidenced by the fact that they could only afford to conduct loan deals during the January transfer window, and may only have £40 million to spend in the summer – the club’s hierarchy must be keen to unburden themselves of the No. 10’s lucrative contract. They will therefore back their manager over the player.
What’s more, Neymar commands such power in Paris due to the quality of his performances. In the chances he’s had this season, Ozil has all too often failed to shine.