Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said the situation surrounding Mesut Ozil's exclusion is "really sad" and is expected to face questions about the German playmaker whenever his team loses.
Ozil is under contract until June 2021 and is Arsenal's highest earner on a reported £350,000 pounds ($452,830) per week. However, he has not played this season after being left out of the 25-man Premier League squad, and last played for the Gunners in March.
The 32-year-old German was also left out of their Europa League squad, leaving him only eligible for Under-23 games.
"I'm hurt because I don't like any player in my squad not to have the possibility to participate, or to compete, for me it is really sad because I don't think anybody deserves that," Arteta said.
"But at the end of the day I'm sitting here to make decisions, to make the decisions that, in my opinion, are the best for the football club. And this is what I have to do."
Ozil's high-profile absence continues to be a major talking point and Arteta said he was resigned to having to deal with the issue. With Arsenal having lost three of their past four Premier League games to sit in the bottom half of the table - and a lack of creativity being a regular criticism - questions concerning Ozil and the role he could play have become frequent.
"The moment that you lose football matches his name is going to come up and when you win, it won’t," Arteta said.
Asked whether Ozil could find his way back into the team, Arteta said: “Well everybody can and I think since I arrived here you see where some players have started and where they are right now, their careers are completely changed and they have earned that right. We gave them the opportunities and they took them.
"With Mesut at the moment, with the squad list, obviously he cannot be involved. I try to be as clear as possible with him and with all the media and fans because they deserve to know the reasons why and some people will understand and other people won't understand it because of what he’s done for the club."
Arsenal, who are six points off leaders Leicester City, visit Leeds United in the Premier League on Sunday.