Olivier Giroud hailed “key player” Mesut Ozil’s commitment to Arsenal and said that the Gunners need to keep hold of the Germany international.
Ozil, who is out of contract at the end of the season, starred in Arsenal’s 5-0 win over Huddersfield on Wednesday night.
The 29-year-old provided two assists in the space of 76 seconds before adding his own strike to the tally as he collected his second successive man of the match award at the Emirates Stadium following his display in the derby win over Tottenham.
Having been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Manchester United in recent weeks it remains to be seen if Ozil will stay at Arsenal past the January transfer window, let alone sign a new deal beyond 2018.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insisted earlier in the week that both Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, who is in the same contractual position, will remain at the club until the end of the campaign unless “something unbelievable” happens in the window.
And Giroud, who scored twice off the bench on Wednesday, feels it is imperative that the club keep hold of the former Real Madrid man.
Asked if Ozil has shown his commitment to Arsenal with his recent displays, the France striker said: “Yes, of course. He is a top player and we need him.
“He makes the best choice most of the time. He knows when he has to pass the ball or to shoot and when you are in a good position you always think he thinks assist before scoring, even if he scored tonight. I am very happy for him. He is our playmaker and is a key player.”
Despite the adoration of his team-mates, Ozil – Arsenal’s club-record signing before Alexandre Lacazette joined in the summer – is still sometimes accused of not being consistent enough.
But Giroud defended the forward and said no-one in the dressing room has any doubts over his ability.
“No, never,” he replied when asked if the Arsenal players had ever questioned Ozil.
“You cannot be at the top level all the time. Sometimes people expect the best from you every single game because you are a top player.
“I can understand that. But we never had any doubts about his quality, that is for sure.”
Giroud replaced Lacazette at half-time on Wednesday, with the latter now set to miss the visit of Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United on Saturday with a groin injury.
Having featured mainly in the Europa League this season, Giroud could be brought in for his first Premier League start of the campaign.
When asked if his lack of league action was frustrating, the 31-year-old said: “Yes, because we are all competitors.
“We want to play every single game to help the team win. We want to be on the pitch.
“We are enjoying playing together in Europe but obviously we all want to play in the Premier League as well so when the boss wants to put us on the pitch we try to give our best and bring our small cog to the big machine.”