Mesut Ozil: Where it went wrong at Arsenal for the former Germany international

Mark Mann-Bryans, PA
·3-min read

Mesut Ozil’s Arsenal career is over after the former Germany international’s move to Turkish side Fenerbahce was confirmed.

Here, the PA news agency looks at where things went wrong for Ozil at the Emirates Stadium in recent times.

Speaking out on social media

A social media post made my Ozil saw Arsenal distance themselves from his political stance.
A social media post made my Mesut Ozil saw Arsenal distance themselves from his political stance (Nick Potts/PA)

Arsenal decided to distance themselves from comments made by Ozil in an Instagram post on December 13, 2019.

Ozil was speaking out against the perceived persecution of Uighurs in China, calling on Muslims to do more to highlight the situation in Xinjiang.

Given Arsenal have several commercial and business deals in the country, they released a statement on China’s leading social media site – Weibo – saying Ozil’s view was a “personal opinion” and that the club have the principle of “not involving itself in politics.”

Fall in form

Mikel Arteta would be appointed as Arsenal head coach just a week after Ozil’s controversial social media post.

The Spaniard had played alongside the former Germany international in his final season as a player at Arsenal and his reign as boss began with Ozil as part of his plans.

He was named in the starting line-up in Arteta’s opening 10 Premier League games at the helm, including the 1-0 win over West Ham in March – the last game Arsenal played before the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite that, Ozil only managed one goal and one assist during that spell as Arteta set about implementing his own ideas at the Emirates Stadium.

Pay-cut dispute

Mikel Arteta was instrumental in Arsenal's players agreeing to a pay-cut - but Ozil refused to it.
Mikel Arteta was instrumental in Arsenal’s players agreeing to a pay cut – but Ozil refused to do it (John Walton/PA)

With football sidelined by the pandemic, Arsenal moved to ease their financial strains by asking players and staff to agree to a 12.5 per cent pay cut for a 12-month period.

Ozil refused, citing concerns over a lack of clarity as to where the money saved would be used instead.

The cut was reduced to 7.5 percent after the Gunners qualified for the Europa League by winning the FA Cup but Ozil continued to collect his club-record weekly wage of £350,000 until leaving.

Squad omissions

Ozil was an unused substitute for Arsenal's win over Southampton in June - the last time he was involved in a matchday squad
Ozil was an unused substitute for Arsenal’s win over Southampton in June – the last time he was involved in a matchday squad (Andrew Matthews/NMC Pool)

Ozil did not play a minute for Arsenal once football returned, with Arteta fielding weekly questions as to why he had opted to drop the playmaker.

Arteta, as well as technical director Edu, stressed it was down to footballing reasons as Ozil was then omitted from both the Premier League and Europa League squads for the first half of the 2020-21 season.

He could have been registered for the remaining league games once January arrived but it was clear his time at Arsenal was coming to an end with something of a whimper.

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