Unai Emery says the door is open for Mesut Ozil to regain his status as an Arsenal superstar.
The 30-year-old has not played a single minute for the Gunners this season, for a variety of reasons, but is in line to feature against Tottenham.
The man Arsene Wenger recruited to prise open the stubbornest of defences was used sporadically by Emery last season and was linked with a number of potential moves away over the summer.
But his current manager, having made it clear he does not expect any deal to be concluded ahead of Monday’s European transfer deadline, insists that a fully-functioning Ozil is still a major weapon in the Gunners’ armoury.
Emery said: “With Mesut Ozil it’s the same message to him that I can say to you: We need him – and him firstly to be consistent in training, to be available in each match.
“For example, last week he wasn’t ready to play 100 percent at Liverpool. This week he is getting better with each training session and physically he is now better.
“We need him because he is a different player in our team. We have different ways to prepare to win, and different qualities with the players, different characteristics from them. We need him to be available and he can help us with his quality.”
The former Germany international, whose £350,000-a-week wages were too much for Fenerbahce to try to tempt him to Turkey during the close season, missed last week’s 3-1 defeat at Liverpool because of illness.
His absence for the season opener at Newcastle came after he and team-mate Sead Kolasinac were involved in an alleged carjacking by an armed gang.
Two men were subsequently charged with a public order offence following a separate incident outside Ozil’s home, prompting Arsenal to omit both players from the game at St James’ Park as a precaution.
Getting the best out of Ozil is rarely straightforward but Emery was philosophical about such a daunting managerial task.
“It’s not in my control,” he said. “We are speaking a lot with every player, especially with him whether he is not ready to play, if he is sick or if he has a circumstance like he had with Kolasinac.