Arsenal opted to exclude Mesut Ozil and Sokratis when they submitted the Europa League squad. The duo looks set to be excluded again, when the club submits the squad list for the Premier League season.
The club has 19 non-home grown players, which means two of them have to be excluded according to the rules.
Speaking on the issue, Mikel Arteta admitted that it will be difficult to keep this duo motivated, and involved. While also admitting how tough the decision was.
“It is 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,” said Arteta on Thursday.
“I don’t like it at all, but the decision had to be made because we have an excess of foreign players. Unfortunately, we had to make that decision.”
On how he will keep Ozil and Sokratis working hard daily, he added:
“This is the hardest thing. I don’t doubt about the professionalism of the players, I already spoke to them and told them that.
“As I’ve said before, it was a very difficult conversation. The last thing you want is to be cut just because of a restriction in the roster [on numbers]. You want to give them the opportunity that if they do well to have the opportunity to play and help us on the pitch.
“This is the issue we have. We knew that before the transfer window, we tried to resolve that, we tried to get some players opportunities elsewhere. We weren’t able to do that and now it’s just to keep them motivated, to make them still feel part of what we do and give them support.
“When they know they are not playing and not going to be playing week in, week out, it’s a really tough thing.”