Mesut Ozil says his loyalty has not been reciprocated by Arsenal after being left out of squads

Sam Dean
·3 min read
Mesut Ozil leaving the pitch with Mikel Arteta - PA
Mesut Ozil leaving the pitch with Mikel Arteta - PA

Mesut Ozil has said his “loyalty and allegiance” to Arsenal has not been reciprocated by the club after he was left out of their Premier League and Europa League squads.

In a statement, Ozil said he has been left saddened by the decision and added that “loyalty is hard to come by nowadays”.

The 32-year-old appears to have played his last game for Arsenal, with his £350,000-a-week contract expiring at the end of this season, but he has vowed to keep fighting for a place.

“I'm really deeply disappointed by the fact that I have not been registered for the Premier League season for the time being,” Ozil said.

“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.”

Ozil has not played a competitive match since March, before football was suspended following the outbreak of coronavirus in the UK. Unlike the vast majority of his team-mates, he refused to take a pay cut during lockdown earlier this year.

Before football’s suspension, Ozil had started 10 consecutive league matches under Mikel Arteta. Earlier this year he suggested that his exile from the team was linked to his refusal to accept a pay cut.

“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,” Ozil said in his statement. “But then things changed, again, and I was no 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 8th 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.”

In December last year Arsenal distanced themselves from Ozil’s comments after he spoke out strongly against the persecution of the Uighur population in China.

Ozil also propelled himself into the headlines again earlier this month, when he offered to pay the full salary of the Arsenal employee who doubles up as club mascot Gunnersaurus. Ozil said he would reimburse Arsenal with Jerry Quy’s full salary for “as long as I will be an Arsenal player”.