Arsenal and Mesut Ozil were at loggerheads towards the end of the midfield maestro’s seven year spell before he left for Turkish giants Fenerbahce, as a free agent following a termination of his contract. When Arsenal signed Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for a club record fee of £42.5 million in 2013, many would have expected the playmaker to retire at the North London club as a legend or leave without having any traces of fracas with the board.
There were off-pitch reasons which culminated in the eventual exit of Mesut Ozil from Arsenal.
Mesut Ozil Controversy
- Mesut Ozil’s Comments On China’s Treatment Of Uighur Muslims: Mesut Ozil is known as a player who airs his views on various political issues all over the world. However, he expressed his dissatisfaction on the detention of millions of Uighar Muslims in the north-western region of Xinjiang through Instagram. That caused a maelstrom in China as Arsenal’s game against Manchester City wasn’t broadcasted, his comments also affected Arsenal’s business model in the country where they possessed a chain of restaurants. Arsenal, however, on a Chinese social media site Weibo read: “Regarding the comments made by Mesut Ozil on social media, Arsenal must make a clear statement “The content published is Ozil’s personal opinion. As a football club, Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics.” That reaction by the club was met with disappointment from many, including Ozil himself, as he would later admit during an interview with The Athletic . “I have given a lot to Arsenal, on and off the pitch, so the reaction was disappointing,” he said. “They said they don’t get involved in politics but this isn’t politics and they have got involved in other issues “In America, we saw George Floyd killed and the world spoke up to say Black Lives Matter, and that is correct. We are all equal and it’s a good thing that people fight against injustice. “But I wish people would have done the same for the Muslims because Arsenal have many Muslim players and fans as well, and it is important for the world to say that Muslim Lives Matter.” Ozil’s involvement in the issue of the Chinese and Uighar Muslims damaged his playtime hugely.
- His Refusal To Take A Pay Cut: Mesut Ozil refused to take a 12.5 % pay cut during the lockdown. That decision made him fall out of favor with Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal board. Ozil was the club’s highest earner and his refusal to take a pay cut deteriorated his relationship with the club and Mikel Arteta. Other players accepted a pay cut while Ozil was defiant. Afterwards, he didn’t play any game until he left the club. Although, Mikel Arteta suggests that was not a reason for axing him out of the 25-man squad for the 2020/2021 season. “It is nothing related to any behavior or, like I read, the pay cuts,” said the Arsenal boss . It’s not true. It’s my decision, if someone has to blame me. “What I can say from my side is that it is just a football decision. My conscience is very calm because I have been really fair with him.”
- Mesut Ozil’s Dip In Form: The German ace was lambasted for failing to give his best for the Gunners during certain games in the past. Those criticisms arose as a result of his status as the highest earner for the club at £350,000-a-week. A lot of people felt that was too relaxed for a player who was earning such an astronomical fee. A player of his calibre was expected to garner at least 15 assists in a season. He was able to impress most people when he mustered 19 assists in the 2015/2016 season. It was also said that he had a lackadaisical attitude at training. More so, it ruffled the feathers of Mikel Arteta and former boss Unai Emery who ostracized him from first team action on a couple of occasions. “We are talking of course about performance,” said technical director Edu, when asked about Ozil’s continued absence. “Players with performance in training, the game, they are going to have opportunities because Mikel already showed that. It is for everyone. “We know how important everybody is. I know how important and big the player is when you mention Mesut but in the end we are talking about performance here.” According to Mikel Arteta, Mesut Ozil was left out of match day squads after the lockdown for tactical reasons. That was a cogent reason as the 3-4-3 formation which Arteta adopted could not feature a classic No.10 like Mesut Ozil in it.
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