Mesut Ozil appears to have played his final game for Arsenal after he was left out of the Gunners’ 25-man Premier League squad this week.
The German playmaker has fallen out of favour with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, who insists is “comfortable” with his decision.
Ozil, 32, will continue to earn £350,000-a-week until the end of the season, when his contract expires, unless he leaves the Emirates Stadium in January.
“It was just a football decision and my conscience is very calm because I have been really fair with him,” Arteta said, per Sky Sports, on Wednesday.
“My level of communication with him has been high, we know what to expect with each other.
“He has had the opportunities like everybody else. I’m sad that I had to leave three players out of this list but I tried to look everybody in the eye and be comfortable with it.
“With Mesut, I have this feeling because I have been very straight forward since I arrived at this club.
“It’s nothing related to [Ozil’s] behaviour. It’s my decision.”
Arteta also accepts full responsibility for his failure to bring the best out of Ozil, who still has the support of many Arsenal fans.
“My job is to get the best out of every player to contribute to the team performance,” Arteta added. “At the moment I feel that I have failed because I want the best possible Mesut for the team.
“In some moments I was able to get close to that but at the moment I haven’t been able to do it.
“This is the reality and we have to face it. The best way is to talk things through face-to-face.
“I take full responsibility, I have to be the one getting the best out of the players.”
Arteta was speaking just hours after Ozil released a statement via social media.
In that statement, Ozil expressed his disappointment and sadness with Arteta’s decision.
“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,” Ozil wrote. “As I have just found out, loyalty is hard to come by nowadays.”
Arteta insisted he was not surprised by Ozil’s statement, adding: “Everybody is free to express their feelings.”
Gary Lineker – the former England striker now best known for presenting Match of the Day – tweeted: “Every footballer wants to play. Not being able to, regardless of salary, is soul destroying.”
And this sparked an interesting response from former Arsenal star Jack Wilshere, who responded by saying: “Spot on Gary, especially when you are the best player!”
Wilshere, who played alongside Ozil for several seasons, still believes his former teammate is the best player at the Emirates.
Here’s how Arsenal fans have reacted…
Although Ozil may have been Arsenal’s best player when Wilshere was still a Gunner, the World Cup winner is no longer the player he once was.
And it’s now in the best interests of all concerned for Ozil to leave Arsenal as soon as possible.
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