Lee Dixon believes Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has no future at the Emirates Stadium unless Unai Emery starts granting him regular playing time, starting with a huge clash against Tottenham on Saturday.
The German midfielder started his first Premier League game since January on Wednesday night against Bournemouth, contributing a goal and an assist in the 5-1 home win.
Ozil has found himself in and out of the team throughout the 2018-19 campaign, with Emery choosing to omit him from the squad completely for certain away games.
The Gunners are fourth in the Premier League table at the moment and a point clear of fifth-placed Manchester United, while Chelsea are three points further back with a game in hand.
Ahead of a vital north London derby with Spurs at Wembley this weekend, Dixon, who played for Arsenal between 1988 and 2002, has offered his take on Ozil's current situation, insisting he should be starting games against the top six.
“That's what everybody wants and I'm sure he wants to be in that position, but wanting it and making it happen are two different things,” Dixon told the Evening Standard.
“Is he knocking on the manager's door, and saying 'right I want this situation to change, what do I need to do?' That's what I would be doing if I was him, but it's quite clear that we're very different characters.”
Emery's first season in charge at the Emirates has been mixed, with only the Europa League left to play for in terms of silverware for the team between now and May.
The Gunners have relied heavily upon Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette as their main source of goals, with a lack of creativity in midfield costing them in a number of high profile matches.
Ozil is more than capable of providing that crucial link between the midfield and attack, but Emery has favoured a more combative approach in the middle of the park.
According to Dixon, the Arsenal boss must find a way to accommodate Ozil in spite of his defensive limitations or risk losing him altogether during the summer transfer window.
“The team needs him, they need that creativity,” he said. “There's no other player in the league like him, he's a very unique talent, but he has to be in an environment that subsidises for his weaknesses.
“If he came to me, if he was playing on my side and said, 'Look, Lee, I'm not going to track back as much as you want, but I'll win you the game', I would do everything I could to make that happen.
“He needs special management. If you're not willing to do that as a group of players, and as a coach, then there's no future for him at the club.”