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Mesut Ozil said he will be a “Gunner for life” after he completed his move to Fenerbahce, bringing a conclusive end to his eventful seven-and-a-half year spell at Arsenal.
Ozil flew to Turkey to finalise his move last week but the process was complicated by various coronavirus restrictions and the final details of the cancellation of his Arsenal contract.
Edu, Arsenal’s technical director, thanked Ozil and his representatives for their “professionalism” during the negotiations over his long-awaited departure.
And Mikel Arteta, Arsenal’s manager and Ozil’s former team-mate, said the playmaker’s achievements at the club are “undisputed”.
Meanwhile Arsenal are closing in on the loan signing of Martin Odegaard, who would help to fill the creative void created by Ozil’s exclusion from the side last year.
Odegaard, a former teenage prodigy who has fallen out of favour at Real Madrid, is set to join on a loan until the end of the season if the final details can be agreed. The 22-year-old will provide support for Emile Smith Rowe in an attacking midfield position, and he can also play on the wing.
In a letter posted on social media, Ozil said Arsenal’s “principles of class, respect and dignity must never be forgotten” as he bade farewell to the club’s supporters, many of whom have been loyal supporters since his arrival in 2013.
“Much has been written about my time at Arsenal, especially in recent months,” said Ozil. “Arsenal is a club of class and prestige, something that I felt every time I walked onto the pitch.
“Players, staff and management always come and go - but the club’s values and fans will remain forever. The principles of class, respect and dignity must never be forgotten.
“It is the responsibility of every single person from the club to make sure they carry out their job in the name of these values.
“The past few months have not been the easiest. Like every player, I want to play every minute of football for my team. In life however, things do not always play out how we expect or want them to.
“But it is important to look for the positives in life and not the negatives, which is why I try to live with no regrets and holding no grudges.”
Ozil made 254 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 44 goals and registering 71 assists. He helped the club to FA Cup victories in 2014, 2015 and 2017 and was a key part of the team that reached the Europa League final in 2019.
His £350,000-a-week contract has been a drain on resources in recent years, though, as his contributions to the team have declined. As part of his departure from Arsenal, he will not be receiving all the wages he would have earned if he had stayed until the end of this season.
“Mesut’s achievements at Arsenal are undisputed,” said Arteta. “It was a privilege to play alongside him and, more recently, coach him. His creativity and vision led to many goals during his time in the Arsenal shirt.
“Mesut was at the heart of many great moments for this club over the years, including those three FA Cup final wins. These successes will always be part of our history. We thank Mesut and wish him all the best with Fenerbahce.”
Edu, Arsenal’s technical director, added: “We would like to thank Mesut and his team for their professionalism during our recent negotiations.
“I know everyone associated with Arsenal will join me in wishing Mesut and his family the best of health, success and happiness in the next chapter of his career.”