Mesut Ozil has been urged to replicate Dennis Bergkamp’s consistency and fire Arsenal back into the top four by Gunners’ Invincible Ray Parlour.
Ozil’s future in north London remains uncertain, with Arsenal chiefs willing to listen to offers for the 30-year-old in a bid to slash their wage bill and free up transfer funds for manager Unai Emery.
Ozil has two years to run on his current deal but it is unlikely another top-level European club will be prepared to match his reported £350,000-a-week salary.
“If Mesut is going to play a part in getting Arsenal back in the top four, then the club should keep him,” Parlour told Press Association Sport. “But he has got to work hard.
“I played with Dennis Bergkamp and he very rarely had a poor game – you always knew what you would get out of him – and that is what Mesut needs to do, too.
“The best players are consistent and I want to see that from Mesut. He is a quality player but he goes in and out of games, and it could be argued that he goes missing in the big matches. That is when you need your top men to perform.
“He should have that in his locker. He has won the World Cup and starred for massive clubs. He just needs to show that desire to play for his team-mates and show more energy.”
Emery might have just £45million at his disposal this summer after Arsenal finished outside of the Champions League places and then failed to qualify via the Europa League after losing against Chelsea in the final.
Arsenal made Ozil the highest earner in the club’s history only last year and Parlour, who won three Premier League titles with the Gunners, says the former Germany international will call the shots over his future.
“The investment is going to be very important for Arsenal if they want to get back into the top four,” added Parlour, 46, who was speaking at the McDonald’s & FA Fun Football Festival at Ryan FC.
“Mesut is the one who is on big wages that they might need to free up. It is a massive decision for the club.
“But players hold all the power these days and not every player wants to leave. If they are on a good contract it is very hard to get a player out and that could be hard for Arsenal if they want to move Mesut on.
“Arsenal will do the best for Arsenal Football Club, but Ozil has got two years on his contract and if he doesn’t want to go anywhere the club will have to pay him for those two years. That will be the key as to whether he stays or goes.”
:: Ray Parlour was speaking at the McDonald’s & FA Fun Football Festival at Ryan FC. These festivals are taking place across the UK this summer, giving thousands of children the chance to enjoy the game. Find your nearest festival at www.mcdonalds.co.uk/funfootball