Lukas Poldolski has launched a defence of his former Arsenal teammate Mesut Ozil by insisting the midfielder is "not an a***hole".
The German duo played together at The Emirates for three years between 2012-2015 but also know each other well from their time on international duty.
Podolski's Arsenal career ended pretty swiftly after he complained about a lack of game time just six months after starting in the 2014 FA Cup final.
Meanwhile Ozil is facing a similar scenario where he has been frozen out completely under new boss Mikel Arteta, but seems content to pick up his £350,000-per-week wage for another year whether he plays or not.
The 31-year-old has become the main scapegoat for any of Arsenal's failings, but Podolski is adamant the situation is not down to the player alone.
"He's good enough (to be their man man) with support from the coach and the team, but something has happened with the club, you can feel that," Podolski told the Athletic.
"Is he in a disagreement with the club? When I talk to him, we don't want to talk to him about that kind of stuff. It's his situation, him and his agent have to deal with that.
"He's a good character — he's not an a**hole. He doesn't do interviews where he speaks badly of his team-mates or of Arsenal and it's a shame we have this situation because everyone is losing.
"Ozil is sat in the stands, Arsenal are paying him and there is no winner."
Arteta stated shortly after the Premier League restart that there was "always room for a player of his quality" when discussing Ozil's future at the club.
But despite Arteta's comments, Ozil hasn't featured for Arsenal since March and did not even make the bench for the FA Cup final win over Chelsea.
Ozil was said to be struggling with a mystery back injury though other reports claimed he had been fit to play.
Arsenal are keen to get rid of the expensive playmaker but Ozil's agent is adamant he won't be going anywhere before his contract ends next year.
Former Gunners striker Alan Smith says he appreciates Ozil is free to do as he pleases but questioned what he will get out of such a standoff.
Is Mesut Ozil right to sit out his Arsenal contract? Have your say below.
"Ozil is well within his rights to see out a four-year contract the club were happy enough to give, but from a purely football aspect, why would you do that if you are not going to play?" Smith told Sky Sports .
“‘This is my profession’, he says. ‘It's what I love doing: being on the pitch, playing matches, showing the people, helping the club and my team’. Ok, so if you love playing so much, why not go somewhere you're actually wanted?
“There's an old saying in football – you are a long time retired. Come the end of his career, he might live to regret these wasted years.”
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