Mesut Ozil’s agent has criticised Arsenal and Mikel Arteta for the way they have treated the German.
The German playmaker has been omitted from the North London club’s Premier League and Europa League squads. He will not be able to play for the Arsenal first team until February at the earliest when clubs will get the opportunity to make changes to their squad based on activity in the January transfer window.
Arsenal have been keen for Ozil to depart the club in the last few transfer windows but Arsenal’s number 10 has dug in his heels and refused to leave the club. He signed a three and a half year deal with the Gunners in January 2018 and has less than a year left until his contract expires.
Ozil played in Arteta’s first ten Premier League games as Arsenal boss but has not featured for the North London side since March 7th. He hasn’t been included in a single matchday squad since June 25th.
The World Cup winner has been a shadow of his former self in the last two seasons at the Emirates. He has scored seven goals and provided just six assists since the start of the 2018/19 campaign. In the two seasons prior to former Arsenal head coach Unai Emery’s time at the club, Ozil scored 17 goals and provided 28 assists.
In his pre-match press conference prior to Arsenal’s Europa League tie against Rapid Vienna, Arteta commented on his decision to leave Ozil out of the 25-man Premier League squad. He said:
“My conscience is very calm because I have been really fair. What I can say from my side is that it is just a football decision. My level of communication with him has been really high, and we know what to expect with each other.”
“My job is to get the best out of every player, to contribute to the team performance. Here I feel at the moment, today, that I have failed.”
Ozil’s agent had a lot to say about the former Real Madrid midfielder’s situation in North London. He said:
“Arsenal fans deserve an honest explanation, not [Arteta] saying, ‘I failed Ozil.’ You didn’t fail Ozil. You failed to be fair, honest and transparent and treat someone with respect who has a contract and was loyal all the time.”
“Every single person outside knows he hasn’t treated him fairly. He didn’t give him a chance to show himself this season. If he is still under contract, the player should have the option to stay and fight for his place. Mesut hasn’t been given that. Why would you put a player on the bench twice for 90 minutes [against Brighton and Crystal Palace in June] if he wasn’t fit or committed?”
“Everyone says he’s training well. Per Mertesacker said this publicly. I spoke with at least five teammates who say he is training great. They say Mesut is one of their best players, and they cannot understand why he is left out. So it can’t be the training. If it is not the pitch, what are the footballing reasons? If you talk, you should tell the truth that the Arsenal fans deserve, otherwise don’t talk at all.”
Last year, Mesut Ozil commented on China’s treatment of Uighurs after it was reported that over a million people had been held in detention camps. He criticised other Muslims for staying silent on this subject. Arsenal, who have a number of commercial interests in China, chose to distance themselves from his comments. Ozil was deleted from a video game and Arsenal’s game against Manchester City was not televised on state TV in China.
On this issue, Erkut Sogut said:
“You have to understand the bigger picture. The [Uighur situation] created problems for the whole Premier League, not just Arsenal. He expected to get more support from the club. It is not talking about politics, it is about human rights, putting people in detention centres. Imagine a football player comes out and says, ‘This is inhumane.’ Is that politics or empathy?”
Sogut tore into Arteta and spoke about the Spaniard’s move to the Gunners and his last few years at the club as a player. On the current Arsenal boss, he said:
“He started zero games in the Premier League in his last season. He wasn’t there in the last six months at all, busy doing his coaching badges and meeting coaches for his future. Mesut plays for one English team and that’s it because he feels he can only play for that team. He is a Gunner in the end.”
“Mesut is not a player who is yesterday a Toffee and today a Gunner. Arteta didn’t play at all in the final two years, but they still registered him because he was given a contract. [Then-manager] Arsene Wenger put him on the field for the final two minutes of his last game just to give him a nice moment, even though he wasn’t fit for months. Look at how [Arteta] was treated in his final two years, and how Mesut is getting treated in his final year.”
On what he thinks Arsenal’s intentions were with Ozil this summer, he said:
“Maybe [Arsenal’s] goal was to wait until the end and Mesut would say, ‘I want to leave. If Mesut would have done that, the club can say he wants to go, and if they can’t find him a club, they have an excuse and can say, ‘We can’t register you because you wanted to leave.’ But they knew for a long time that Mesut wanted to stay. He made it very clear. Maybe they wanted him to feel unwanted and unwelcome, but he wants to play for the badge.”
“Mesut is 32 years old. He has a few more years in his career, but it is more about the way of treatment. Mesut is someone who fights for his rights. The contract was a big commitment for him. He could have left for another club like Alexis Sanchez did. He could have left and got a £30 million signing-on fee as a free agent at the peak of his career. But he stayed loyal.”
“Maybe the club will change their position in January and register him. You never know what will happen.”
On Arsenal’s decision to make 55 employees redundant earlier in the summer, he said:
“You wouldn’t expect a club with class to make 55 people redundant just after winning the FA Cup or sacking a mascot after 27 years of service, just before making a £45 million signing [of Thomas Partey]. And it doesn’t help if people from outside the club speak on their behalf. It unfortunately gives a very bad picture of the club which we are not used to having at a team like Arsenal.”
“I would be very concerned for any club if someone repeatedly spoke on their behalf and clearly had a significant influence on and off the pitch. Mesut cannot speak now because of confidentiality, but one day he will, and we’ll see what people think.”
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