Mesut Ozil revealed his anger and disappointment on Wednesday after learning Arsenal have left him out of their 25-man Premier League squad.
The German, who is the club’s highest earner and longest serving player, wrote: “I’m really deeply disappointed by the fact that I’ve not been registered for the Premier League season for the time being.
“Upon signing my new contract in 2018, I pledged my loyalty and allegiance to the club that I love, Arsenal, and it saddens me that this has not been reciprocated.
“As I have just found out, loyalty is hard to come by nowadays.
“I’ve always tried to remain positive from week to week that there’s maybe a chance to get back in the squad soon again. That’s why I kept silent so far.
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“Before the Coronavirus outbreak I was really happy with the development under our new coach Mikel Arteta – we’ve been on a positive way I would say my performances were on a really good level.
“But then things changed, again, and I was no longer allowed to play football for Arsenal.”
Ozil’s snub has been met with widespread criticism, with Jack Wilshere, Ian Wright and Gary Lineker among those to show support for the German.
Ozil’s former boss Arsene Wenger also had a few things to say about the snub, suggesting there must be more going on behind the scenes at Arsenal.
Wenger told Sky Sports: “I don’t know what’s happening on a daily basis.
“I just say one thing, the creative players are the players who are perfectionists and they are a bit more sensitive sometimes and they need to be encouraged.
“Because if I want to play a risky pass I need to be confident and creative players they create this pass that makes the team dangerous.
“Mesut Ozil is an exceptional football player. What’s happening at the moment between him and the club looks to be more confrontational, it’s not [only] based on sport, I’m convinced.
“This guy has won things. He’s a world champion, he’s an exceptional football player.
“Why is he not at the moment playing? I don’t know. When you’re a football player you have to respect the decision of your manager and fight to get your confidence and get back into the team again.
“He can fight, contrary to what people think, he can fight. And he’s an exceptional football player, he has enough quality to get back into the team. So it’s down to him to get his confidence back.”
Whether Ozil and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta have become enemies behind the scenes at the Emirates remains to be seen.
But there is no evidence to suggest Arteta’s decision to axe Ozil is based on anything other than football reasons, despite Wenger’s comment.
Looking back on the pair’s relationship suggests they enjoyed a really positive one, with Arteta showing nothing but respect for Ozil throughout the years.
Back in 2013, shortly after Arsenal signed Ozil, Arteta, who was a player himself at the time, said: “It was a great message from the club.
“Everyone was really expecting a top, top player, probably a striker rather than a No.10, but in the end we got an amazing player and that gave a lift to everyone, not only us but you can see the people are excited again to come and watch and that makes a big difference.
“A player like Ozil gives you a step forward quality-wise and gives you another player on the pitch who can decide the game for you. He proved again that he is able to do it and that’s always great. The more players you have like that, the better chance you have.”
In 2014 he banged the same drum, saying: “When you have players like Ozil with everything he involves – his price, his personality – people will either love him or not like him at all.
“When you’re an artist, you’re never going to perform nine out of 10 every week. It’s much more difficult for a creative player to perform at that level.
“The opposition always try and stop you, so sometimes you don’t shine. And then people ask, ‘Why don’t you shine? You didn’t do anything in the game.’
“When that happens you get criticised, especially when it happens in big games. But you cannot deny Ozil is a special player: his movement, his calmness, his final ball is superb.”
And finally in 2015 Arteta labelled the German the “man”.
“What I like most about Mesut is that he’s said to himself ‘I’m the man, I can hold the pressure and when the team needs me, I’m here to help us win the game’,” said Arteta.
Arteta accepted the Arsenal manager’s job back in 2019, taking the reins from Unai Emery.
In his very first press conference he made a point to speak of Ozil’s importance to Arsenal, telling reporters: “He’s a massive player for this football club.
“As I said before, what I want is to understand how they are feeling and what they need. It’s not so much about what I need. You have to understand them. Sometimes with conversation, you get to understand a point.
“When you understand them, I can take the excuses out of them and focus on the things that are relevant and have an impact on the team on and off the pitch.
“Of course he’s a massive player. I work with him and I know when he clicks, what he can bring to the team. It’s my job to get the best out of him, of course.”
Whether Arteta would admit he hasn’t done his job or whether the problems with Ozil run deeper is speculation at this point.
But for one reason or another the German’s Arsenal career has come to an end, and perhaps so too his friendship with Arteta.
Has Mesut Ozil played his final game for Arsenal? Have your say here.
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