Ozil breaks silence: 'Loyalty is hard to come by'

Mesut Ozil has accused Arsenal of a lack of loyalty after being left out of their Premier League squad, but vowed to keep “fighting” for his chance.

Ozil, the highest-paid player in Arsenal’s history, may have played his last game for the club after he was not included in their Premier League squad for the 2020/21 season.

It was another blow for the 32-year-old, who had already been left out of their Europa League plans last week.

“This is a difficult message to write to the Arsenal fans that I’ve played for over the past few years,” Ozil said on Instagram.

“I’m really deeply disappointed by the fact that I have not been registered for the Premier League season for the time being.

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This is a difficult message to write to the @Arsenal fans that I’ve played for over the past few years. I’m really deeply disappointed by the fact that I have not been registered for the @premierleague 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. 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. But then things changed, again, and I was not longer 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. 🙏🏼🙏🏼 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. #M1Ö #YaGunnersYa

A post shared by Mesut Özil (@m10_official) on Oct 21, 2020 at 4:13am PDT

“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.”

The German World Cup winner played in every Premier League game under Mikel Arteta until last season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic – and has not featured since.

He added: “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.

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Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger suggests that the reason for Ozil’s lack of playing time is not related to his ability

“But then things changed, again, and I was not longer 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 eighth season at Arsenal end like this. 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.”

Analysis: Ozil is a wasted talent

Former Arsenal striker and Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith:

“It’s sad, there’s no doubt about it because it’s a wasted talent and has been for the last couple of years. He hasn’t reached the levels that he did, four or five years back. I can’t remember a time in football when someone on so much money has been ostracised like this and has no chance at all of playing for the first team.

“But Mikel Arteta has made his choice and obviously knows things that we don’t. He’s looked at the player day in, day out. It might be down to his attitude during lockdown when he refused to take a wage cut, and he didn’t take part in team Zoom meetings so perhaps Arteta feels he’s not a team player.

“The irony is that Arsenal do need a player of that ilk at the moment, someone of Ozil’s creative force. Somebody who can unlock defences as they’ve faced a couple of those challenges recently against West Ham and Sheffield United and it was difficult for them.

“I’m sure Arteta would’ve liked to have had the Ozil of four or five years back available. I would say Arteta wields quite a lot of power there, and obviously his title changed, so I’m not sure this is a decision that has been taken out of his hands.

“With the narrowing down of the powers there with Raul Sanllehi going, Arteta – along with the director of football Edu – does call a lot of the shots. From Ozil’s point of view, this period where he’s sat tight on his contract and he’s refused to countenance a move, at the end of his career he will reflect on it being three or four years wasted.

“You only really can appreciate that at the end of your career, so from a personal point of view, he really should’ve tried to find a career elsewhere. He’s got to wait until January now, and with that then being so close to next summer, I would doubt he’ll agree to a move.

“Arteta has made his decision very clear indeed, and nobody will be asking him in the forthcoming press conferences ‘why isn’t Ozil involved?’ He’s drawn a line in the sand and he’ll be hoping to move forward.”

More to follow…

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