Mikel Arteta has offered Mesut Ozil a lifeline to save his Arsenal career amid news he will be excluded from the Premier League squad.
The German has not played for the Gunners in seven months, last appearing in March.
With one year left on his £350,000-a-week contract, the club tried to offload him in the summer transfer window.
But Ozil was happy to stay where he was and see out his contract.
The same fate looks set to befall him in the Premier League, with Arteta experiencing something of a selection headache.
Arsenal have 19 foreign players – two more than selection guidelines will allow.
With time running out on his deal and little chance of playing, it would appear Ozil’s career at the Emirates is over.
But Arteta has thrown the 32-year-old a lifeline, telling him to keep working hard in case an opening appears.
As well as Ozil, Sokratis has also been excluded from the Europa League squad after he was told he could leave in the summer.
The Gunners coach said: “[Ozil and Sokratis] have to respect that decision, try to train the best possible way, help the team as best they can and see what happens.”
Ozil will be free to speak to other clubs in January over signing a pre-contract deal but it remains to be seen what the future holds for the World Cup winner.
When pressed on his decision to exclude the playmaker from the Europa League, Arteta insisted it was a difficult decision.
“Well he wasn’t the only one who’s not in the squad,” he said.
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“It was a really difficult decision for me to make because to leave players out of the squad at that level where they know they cannot get involved is really tough.
“I don’t like it at all but the decision has to be made because we have a limit on foreign players and unfortunately we have to make that decision.”
Arsenal face Manchester City next in the Premier League on Saturday, with Arteta coming face to face with his former mentor Pep Guardiola.