Mesut Ozil has been challenged to become more like Arsenal icon Dennis Bergkamp, with Ray Parlour looking for greater consistency if the German is to remain with the Gunners.
Questions are being asked of the 30-year-old’s ongoing presence at Emirates Stadium.
He is tied to a lucrative contract and there are those that believe he has failed to justify the funds and faith being shown in him.
There have been calls for Unai Emery to move the World Cup winner on this summer, freeing up space in the squad and wage bill for reinforcements.
Parlour is not convinced that Ozil should be offloaded, as his creativity remains without question, but the former Arsenal winger concedes that more is required from a man with the ability to be a talismanic presence.
“If Mesut is going to play a part in getting Arsenal back in the top four, then the club should keep him,” Parlour told Press Association Sport.
“But he has got to work hard.
“I played with Dennis Bergkamp and he very rarely had a poor game – you always knew what you would get out of him – and that is what Mesut needs to do, too.
“The best players are consistent and I want to see that from Mesut. He is a quality player but he goes in and out of games, and it could be argued that he goes missing in the big matches. That is when you need your top men to perform.
“He should have that in his locker. He has won the World Cup and starred for massive clubs. He just needs to show that desire to play for his team-mates and show more energy.”
If Ozil does not move on, then Emery is expected to be given another limited transfer budget with which to work.
Parlour added on the challenges facing the Gunners as they prepare for a third successive season without Champions League football: “The investment is going to be very important for Arsenal if they want to get back into the top four.
“Mesut is the one who is on big wages that they might need to free up. It is a massive decision for the club.
“But players hold all the power these days and not every player wants to leave. If they are on a good contract it is very hard to get a player out and that could be hard for Arsenal if they want to move Mesut on.
“Arsenal will do the best for Arsenal Football Club, but Ozil has got two years on his contract and if he doesn’t want to go anywhere the club will have to pay him for those two years. That will be the key as to whether he stays or goes.”