Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been forced to explain Mesut Ozil’s omission from the Gunners 25-man Premier League squad, as the former Germany international’s chances of playing for the Gunners look all but over.
The 32-year-old signed an extended deal back in 2018 to make him the highest ever earner in Arsenal’s history with an eye-watering £350,000 a week wage, yet the last few seasons have shown little to justify such an investment.
With the World Cup winner now approaching the final year of his contract, it would appear that the end is nigh with regards to his future at the club after more than seven years in North London. The former Real Madrid man is yet to feature so far this season and looks to have played his final game for the club after being omitted from both the Gunners Europa League squad and Premier League squads.
That latter exclusion, in particular, appeared to irk the playmaker, with Ozil releasing a statement on Tuesday conveying how he was “deeply disappointed” by the club’s decision and questioned the lack of loyalty he had been shown.
Despite the player being clearly frustrated with the decision, manager Mikel Arteta stated that it was simply a “football decision” to leave Ozil out in the cold and insisted he has treated the playmaker fairly.
”Everybody is free to express their feelings. What can I say from my side? It’s just a football decision that my conscience is very calm about because I was very fair with him,” Arteta told a pre-match press conference ahead of his sides Europa League opener away to Rapid Vienna tomorrow.
”My level of communication with him has been really high, we know what to expect from each other. When I believe that he could contribute to the team to be better, which is why I was hired to this football club – to become the manager, to win football matches, competitions and create and build a project for the short, medium and long-term.
”He has had the opportunity like everybody else. I’m sad that I had to leave three players off this list, which is never pleasant, but I just have to say that I tried to look everybody in the eye and be comfortable with it.
”With Mesut, I had this feeling because I have been very straightforward since I arrived at this club.”
Arteta revealed it was not guaranteed that Ozil would leave the club in January when asked if that would be the case, while he also admitted he felt he had ” failed” by not getting the best out of a player who joined the club for a record £42.5 million back in 2013.
”No [that’s not the stage we’re at]. Obviously a player of that dimension, with the career he’s had at international level and everything, everything that happens around him has a big impact,” Arteta replied.
”It’s been the case for the last eight years. It’s nothing new, it’s nothing that’s just happening now, a lot of things have been happening over these eight years.
”My job is to get the best out of every player, to contribute to the team and the performance. Here, I feel that at the moment, today, that I’ve failed because I want the best possible Mesut for the team.
”In some moments I was able to get close to that but in other moments I haven’t been able to because I had to make the decision to leave him out of the squad.”