German football expert Raphael Honigstein believes Arsenal are freezing out Mesut Ozil from the team in order to make him leave the club, according to Daily Star.
Honigstein says that Ozil's continued absence is more of a business decision than a sporting one.
The German World Cup winner was once again left out of the squad for Arsenal's 1-0 defeat to BATE Borisov in the Europa League on Thursday, despite confirming that he was fit.
It was the 100th game he had missed out of a possible 313 since joining the club in 2013.
The midfielder recently signed a new £350,000-a-week contract, making him the highest paid player at the Emirates.
While head coach Unai Emery played him at the start of the season, he has since been ushered out of the starting line-up severally.
Speaking on BT Sport after the defeat to BATE Borisov, Honigstein insists that this is not just down to Ozil's poor form.
When asked why he is he sitting on the bench all the time when he is earning a reported £350,000-a-week, Honigstein replied: “I think it depends who you listen to and what kind of explanation you want to buy into.
“I think there might be some kind of straight-forward sporting explanation where you could say he hasn't performed well enough.
“But there is also a financial aspect where there may have been a decision to kind of freeze him out and to get to the point where he feels he has to move on.”
“I think it is very difficult to draw the line and I think it is a bit of a grey area but I don't feel it is just about sport.”
“I think that Arsenal need to make some space on the wage bill and that is a key factor he as well.”
Joe Cole, a Premier League winner with Chelsea and former England international, agreed that Ozil's continued absence is a business decision.
“I think personally it is more of a business decision why he is not playing,” he said.
“From what I understand the manager is not happy with his level as well but I think that there comes a time where you just have to cut ties.”
“I have no doubt that he is a world class player but I think that the time has come where it is just time to move on.”
Former Gunners defender Martin Keown thinks that Ozil's time at the club is probably coming to an end unless he picks up his form.
“Emery has tried to play him and if you wanted Ramsey to sign at the start of the season then you wouldn't have started Ozil and that is what they did,” he said on BT Sport after the defeat to BATE Borisov.
“Ozil has been given that opportunity but he hasn't performed so it is looking now like the only answer is that the player leaves the club unless he starts to up his level.”
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago