Ozil out of Arsenal's Premier League squad, surprise Cech inclusion for Chelsea


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v West Ham United - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - March 7, 2020 Arsenal's Mesut Ozil during the warm up before the match Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

(Reuters) - Arsenal's out-of-favour midfielder Mesut Ozil was left out of their 25-man Premier League squad for the 2020-21 season released on Tuesday, increasing the likelihood that he has played his last game for the north London club.

Ozil, 32, who is under contract with Arsenal until June 2021 and earns a reported 350,000 pounds ($452,830) per week, has not played for Mikel Arteta's side this season.

The German playmaker, who last played for Arsenal in March, was also axed from their Europa League squad earlier this month.

Arteta had said last month that his team are "evolving" and that Ozil would find it difficult to find a place in the squad, casting doubts over his future at the club.

Defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos was also left out of Arsenal's Premier League squad after he too was excluded from the Europa League squad.

Elsewhere, Chelsea named Petr Cech, who played for the club from 2004-2015 and currently works as technical advisor at Stamford Bridge, as emergency goalkeeper cover amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cech had retired as a player in May 2019 after playing for Arsenal in their Europa League final defeat by Chelsea.

"We don't want to risk having a difficulty with finishing a game. Although this is just an emergency option and the likelihood is very small, we want to be safe," Cech said via his representatives.

"The manager (Frank Lampard) decides on who gets nominated and who does not. In the end, we agreed and it was actually also his idea that since I train with the team, it would make sense to put me in for some emergency situation."

Manchester United excluded defender Phil Jones and goalkeeper Sergio Romero from their squad, while Danny Rose was left out by Tottenham Hotspur after failing to secure a move to a second-tier Championship club on transfer deadline day.

League leaders Everton dropped winger Yannick Bolasie after the 31-year-old failed to make the matchday squad this season, having last played for the Toffees in May 2018.

Premier League clubs can register 25 first team players over the age of 21, of whom a minimum of eight should be homegrown.

A 'homegrown' player is defined by the Premier League as a player of any nationality who is 21 or older on Jan. 1, 2021 and spent three years between the ages of 16 and 21 at an English league team.

($1 = 0.7729 pounds)

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Chennai, additional reporting by Robert Muller in Prague; Editing by Toby Davis)

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