Mesut Ozil’s refusal to take a pay cut in March 2020 caused him to fall out of favour with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, according to James Olley of ESPN.
The former Real Madrid man started each of Mikel Arteta’s first ten Premier Leage games as Arsenal head coach but made his last appearance for the club way back in March.
He was left out of the club’s Premier League and Europa League squads this season and is now close to finalising a free transfer to Fenerbahce after coming to a mutual agreement with Arsenal to cancel the last six months of his contract.
In March 2020, a majority of the North London club’s squad agreed to take a 12.5% pay cut due to the financial implications brought on by the coronavirus.
Arteta is believed to have played an active role on behalf of the ownership to negotiate with his players and convince most of them to get on board with a reduction to their wages. Ozil is understood to have wanted more assurances over where the money saved by the club would go.
The German playmaker’s decision to refuse to take a pay cut is believed to have caused a great deal of tension inside the club because on top of the fact that he was the club’s highest earner at the time by some distance, the pandemic caused Arsenal to shift back towards increased fiscal conservatism which saw them make 55 non-playing staff redundant in addition to reducing their scouting network and letting go of head of football Raul Sanllehi.
It is understood that it felt personal to Arteta that Ozil did not respond to his call for unity in taking the wage cut and this made any reconciliation between the two impossible. They did not speak much after this incident and their relationship was reduced to exchanging simple pleasantries whenever their paths crossed on the training ground.
The World Cup winner continued to train with the first team and is believed to have given advice to a number of the younger players in addition to handing out sportswear from his M10 brand.
Once it became clear to the former Germany international that there was no way back into Arteta’s plans, his representatives began exploring long-standing interest from Fenerbahce and DC United.
His Turkish roots and genuine affinity for Fenerbahce has led to the Turkish side winning the race for his signature. Ozil is expected to sign a three-and-a-half year contract with Fenerbahce in the coming hours.