Arsenal are reluctant to increase Mesut Ozil’s contract offer amid growing concerns over his commitment.
Ozil, 28, is the club’s top earner on £140,000 a week but is locked in a protracted contract stand-off after refusing to sign an extension worth around £250,000 a week.
The Germany midfielder feels he deserves closer to £300,000 and talks are due to resume at the end of the season.
But there is a feeling behind the scenes at the Emirates that such a deal is not value for money. Ozil has under-performed this season, particularly in recent weeks as Arsenal’s league form dipped.
His latest poor display against Tottenham on Sunday drew criticism from supporters who have previously stuck by him. And the former Real Madrid man’s displays have not gone unnoticed by the coaching staff.
Likewise, Gunners sources have indicated that there are lingering frustrations regarding Ozil over his effort in training.
Sportsmail revealed last month how Ozil may have to backtrack on his stance because there is a lack of interest in his services given his huge wage demands. It is looking increasingly likely Arsenal will not budge on their offer, which will remain on the table.
However, they will press Ozil for a quick decision when talks recommence. If he still refuses to sign, Arsenal will look to sell him.
The Ozil situation did little for the mood after Sunday’s 2-0 derby defeat by Tottenham, which means Arsenal will finish below their north London rivals for the first time in 22 years.
Petr Cech, Arsenal’s goalkeeper, said: ‘I feel angry and disappointed because this is not a game we wanted to lose. It was huge for both teams. They needed to win to keep their title chances alive. We needed to win to keep our Champions League finishing position (hopes) alive.’
On Arsenal’s difficult season, Cech added: ‘We are disappointed because we aren’t playing for a title. We have five games to play and we are out of the race. It was not the objective so we are disappointed with that.
‘Tottenham finishing above us or doing better is one thing, but the most important thing for Arsenal, for the players, for everybody, is to reach your own targets, not to worry about what the others are doing.’