​Former ​Arsenal player Paul Merson has claimed that the lucrative deal that the club hierarchy gave German star Mesut Ozil has made it difficult for them to get other players that they need, pushing their title challenge further back.

Ozil signed a new deal with Arsenal last January when his salary was bumped up to £350,000- per-week, the highest at the club, but with the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan also earning £200,000-per-week, bringing new players has proved to be a major stumbling block.

Merson believes that since Ozil at such a high wage and is not doing enough to earn that salary, Arsenal are unable to get in more players that could actually help them in their quest to challenge for the league title.

“Letting Ramsey leave is just bad, bad club management isn’t it,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“To let player contracts run out in this day and age for how much these players go for and how much they’re worth is criminal.

“To let him leave the club and walk away for free, somebody in his prime leaving for nothing, it’s a football crime.

“Now they have got to replace him and that will cost money but until the Ozil problem gets sorted out they are going to find it difficult to bring in players.

“Because if they bid £50-60m for someone, the first thing the player will say is well I want what Ozil is getting.

“And when the club says you aren’t getting that then the player will just say well I’m not coming then. And that is what happened with Ramsey.”

There have been rumours that Arsenal want to loan out Ozil in the current transfer window, but it remains to be seen what the club hierarchy do with the situation they find themselves in.

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