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Mesut Ozil’s journey from Arsenal legend to outcast

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Mesut Ozil went from being on top of the world to being axed from Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta’s 25-man Premier League squad.

Mesut Ozil has become the symbol of a failed move in the history of Arsenal. The talented German is merely a shadow of his former self and has finally been completely shunned off from the team. The midfielder has been left off of Mikel Arteta’s 25 man squad for the Premier League which has to lead to the star to issue a public statement about loyalty on his Instagram. Ozil assumes that his boycott has taken place due to some controversial comments that he made back in December but he fails to realize that he has been less than useful for the club on the pitch. Let’s take a look through these controversies and see how the legend has become an outcast.

The German was brought into the Emirates in 2013 for a fee of 42.5 million pounds. The midfielder had some brilliant seasons with the gunners, most notably the 2015-16 season when he managed to provide 20 assists and scored eight goals. However, due to injuries and a rather lackluster attitude, the German could never replicate that stellar season. Still, one might ask the reason for the complete omission of the playmaker considering the fact that Arsenal pays Ozil, 350,000 pounds per week. With wages like that, a player is expected to play every match, however, there is no chance for senior football for Ozil as he has been left off of both the Premier League squad and the Europa squad.

There are many reasons for his downfall although Mikel Arteta claims that it is not his off-field antics and the decision was made by him alone and thus he is responsible,

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.

“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.”

Source Goal

Although his performances have not been great, many speculate that this cannot be the only reason for his dishonorable discharge. The 32-year-old got into many controversies, from his lack of interest in the club to the controversial comments he made about China. Ozil for many years had been labeled, ‘lazy’ and ‘disinterested’. His lack of work rate on the pitch is often criticized and he has become almost obsolete in terms of providing assists or scoring goals. On top of that, he created a controversy by not accepting a pay cut. All members, playing and non-playing were ready to accept a pay cut as the pandemic had severely affected the club’s finances. Ozil created a big conundrum by not accepting the pay cut and publicly asking what they would do with the money that is being taken from his wages. This was an embarrassment for the Arsenal board but it would not be the only time Ozil would cause them shame.

Recently the Gunners had to let go of their club mascot the Gunnersaurus as they did not have funds to pay the weekly fee of the man underneath the costume. Ozil in a moment of generosity offered to pay the full fee of the mascot, however, he made his intentions public and thus embarrassed the club further as they had just paid around 50 million pounds for the transfer of Thomas Partey but they could not find the funds to pay the mascot. This move by the German angered many fans and former Arsenal man, Paul Merson commented,

Mesut Ozil has made Arsenal look absolutely stupid.”

These issues could be some of the reasons for his omission, however, the biggest reason could be his take on the Chinese government’s treatment of the Muslims in Xinjiang. The 32-year-old publicly stated his concerns and his criticisms caused the Chinese government to remove Arsenal’s match from the broadcast schedule. The club was quick to respond that the opinions stated by Ozil were not shared by the club as Arsenal wishes to stay apolitical. Ozil was hurt over this situation as he felt the club had betrayed him. He was quick to point out Arsenal’s hypocrisy as the club was very much a part of the ‘Black Lives Matters’ movement that took place after George Floyd’s death.

I have given a lot to Arsenal, on and off the pitch, so the reaction was disappointing.”

“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.”

The club responded against Ozil by cutting him off and now they have completely removed him. This was probably done as they have a lot of business in China and they want to maintain good relations. This all comes as a very disappointing end for both the player and the club. The man who served the club for seven years is now being forced out and his legacy has been tarnished. Ozil still has a lot to offer even though he is reaching the end days of his professional career however, he will not find any more opportunities at the North London club as they have made their priorities straight and moved on and the German should look for a better future as well.

Image Credit – Mesut Ozil Twitter

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Subhrajit Chowdhury

Subhrajit Chowdhury

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