KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Mesut Ozil has effectively called time on his Arsenal career. He had no option after being omitted by manager Mikel Arteta from the registered squads for both the Premier League and Europa League.
The 32-year-old German World Cup-winner conceded the inevitable in a “difficult message to write to the Arsenal fans” in which he said he was “deeply disappointed” at not being registered to play.
Ozil continued: “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 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.”
Ozil’s last appearance for Arsenal was in the 1-0 win over West Ham in the last game before the lockdown enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic. He was substituted in the 89th minute and that was the last time anyone saw him in match action. After the resumption he was only ever an unused substitute and sometimes not even that.
The midfielder, who cost a then club record £42.5m in 2013, has totalled 254 games for Arsenal in all competitions. In his first season he helped end Arsenal’s nine-year trophy drought with the first of his three victories in the FA Cup. In 2015-16 he recorded the second most assists (19) in a Premier League season.
Those achievements prompted the club to hand him a £350,000-a-week contract which was exceptional even by Premier League standards.