Mesut Özil expressed his disappointment at being exiled in Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squad for this season. The German player, reportedly one of Arsenal’s top paid players with an estimated $450,000 a week of earning, hasn’t played for the first team since March. Ozil accused the club of a lack of loyalty following his omission.
“I’m really deeply disappointed by the fact that I have not been registered for the Premier League season for the time being,” Ozil wrote in a statement posted on social media. “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.”
Earlier, the 32-year-old was not selected in Arsenal’s 25-man squad, alongside Greece defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, for the Premier League, meaning he can only play for Arsenal Under-23s until his deal expires. Having initially been a mainstay of the team following Mikel Arteta’s appointment last year, Ozil has also been left out of the Gunners’ Europa League squad by new coach.
Ozil signed his current deal, which expires next year, in January 2018 – the same time Alexis Sanchez departed for Manchester United. Before the halt of the previous season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ozil had started every Premier League game since Arteta’s appointment. Reports claim that Ozil was one of three players who refused to take a pay cut earlier in the year.
“Before the Coronavirus break I was really happy with the development under our new coach Mikel Arteta – we’ve been on a positive way and I would say my performances were on a really good level,” Ozil’s statement continued. “But then things changed, again, and I was not longer (sic) allowed to play football for Arsenal. What else can I say? London still feels like home,”
“I still have many good friends in this team, and I still feel a strong connection with the fans of this club. No matter what, I will keep fighting for my chance and not let my 8th season at Arsenal end like this,” he added. I can promise you that this hard decision won’t change anything in my mindset – I will continue to train as best as I can and wherever possible use my voice against inhumanity and for justice.”
Arsenal did not immediately comment on the German’s statement. However, the Arsenal boss admits that he is the one responsible for the midfielder’s exile. “Honestly I take full responsibility. I have to be the one getting the best out of the players. It is my responsibility. It is nothing related to any behaviour or, like I read, the pay cuts. It’s not true. It’s my decision, if someone has to blame me.”
Ozil signed for Arsenal in 2013 for a then club record $54.8 million, played 184 Premier League games for the club, scoring 33 goals and providing 54 assists. Of those 184 games, Arsenal has won 100 and lost 33. Of Arsenal players to feature in at least 10 games last season, Ozil ranked second for successful passes in the opposition half (30.33 per 90 minutes), behind only Dani Ceballos (34.33).