Unai Emery has called on Mesut Ozil not to shy away from meeting his demands.
Despite having been in the Premier League since 2013, Saturday will be £350,000-per-week Ozil’s first visit to St James’ Park as Arsenal face Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle.
Ozil did not represent Germany during the international break after he quit the team amid allegations of racism and discrimination within his country’s federation after the World Cup.
The 29-year-old trained at London Colney instead, holding conversations with Emery about what responsibilities he will shoulder this season and where he can improve.
Among the Arsenal head coach’s demands was he wants Ozil to contribute more in attack, as he awaits his first goal or assist of the season.
‘His process is his process,’ Emery said. ‘I want to find with him the possibility to do the best, to make decisive passes, to do more near and in the box to score.
‘He is feeling like I am feeling. He can improve, he can do more. In this process, we will work, we will help him, give him the possibility on the pitch to be together, to find his qualities for us.
‘It is a new moment, for us and for every player. The reason we are working is to prepare each match with our players, to have the possibility to arrive in Newcastle in the best condition for every player. That’s the same for Mesut.
‘He working well. He is OK. I want to push them, I want to be demanding to prepare this match – Mesut the same.’
Reports of a training ground row between Emery and Ozil surfaced last month, with the German missing their game against West Ham at the end of August.
Following talks over the international break, Emery claims the two are getting on and have a good working relationship.
‘I have a very good relationship with Mesut,’ the Spaniard said. ‘Professionally I push him for improvements to give us the best in his qualities and performances.
‘Mesut, like other players, works very well here. Mesut, I look at him with the focus totally here.’
Meanwhile, Emery has been left guessing whether Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis – the man who identified him as Arsene Wenger’s successor – will jump ship to join AC Milan.
Emery and Gazidis have spoken several times, including over the international break, but the Spanish head coach faces losing a trusted and influential ally in the coming weeks.
The word in Italy is Milan, who were taken over by US hedge fund Elliott Management in the summer, are confident of securing their target following weeks of wooing.
His exit would come as a blow to Arsenal and cause significant disruption at a time when the club crave stability, given they have entered a new era under Emery.
It was Gazidis who oversaw the personnel changes after Wenger’s departure following more than two decades in charge. The 53-year-old was behind the appointment of Emery and also brought in Raul Sanllehi as head of football relations and Sven Mislintat as head of recruitment.
‘Every conversation with me is speaking about us,’ Emery said on Gazidis. ‘About our performance. About our ideas. Our process. Then, for his future we didn’t speak.
‘I think it’s one question for him. Every conversation with him is speaking about us and about our work here every day. I don’t know any other news from him.’