Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said that it was a tough decision to leave out Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos from the club’s Europa League squad for the group stage.
Both players have fallen out-of-favour since the project restart and they have recently been excluded from the Europa League group stage squad.
Speaking to reporters, Arteta confirmed that he had no choice, but to leave them out, considering only 25 players could be picked.
“I wanted to tell them face to face before releasing the squad. I explained the reasons why and the numbers we had. It was really difficult for me to tell them – but this is the restriction and rules,” He said.
The Spaniard added that the pair have until December to prove themselves, thereby hinting that they could be offloaded at the turn of the year.
“They have to respect that decision and try to train the best possible way, help the team when they can. Then we will see what happens in December,” He further told.
Both Ozil and Sokratis have their contracts expiring at the end of the season. Neither seem keen on leaving the club until next summer, but the Gunners may look to terminate their deals in advance.