SPORTS:I’ll decide when to leave, Ozil tells Arsenal
Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil (L) celebrates with Arsenal’s English midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Watford and Arsenal. Photo: AFP
Mesut Ozil insists he is the only person who will decide when he leaves Arsenal after the German star was frozen out by Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.
Ozil has not played for Arsenal since the coronavirus hiatus amid reports the club are keen to get his huge salary off the wage bill.
The 31-year-old earns a reported £350,000-per-week ($458,000), but has rarely provided good value since his 2013 move from Real Madrid.
Ozil was absent as Arsenal beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final on August 1, but he will not allow the club to force him out before his contract expires in June 2021.
Holding out hope of winning back his place next season, Ozil told the Athletic: “Things have been difficult but I love Arsenal. I’ll decide when I go, not other people.
“I’ll give everything I have for this club. Situations like these will never break me, they only make me stronger.
“I showed in the past that I can come back into the team and I will show it again.”
Ozil fell out of favour with Arteta’s predecessor Unai Emery, but started all 10 of Arsenal’s Premier League games after the former Gunners midfielder took charge in December.
However, he has not featured in their past 13 matches in all competitions, with Arteta saying his exile was down to “football reasons”.
Ozil believes he deserves another chance and he said, “You don’t play 10 games in a row if you’re unfit, not good enough or don’t behave well.”
Arteta and many Arsenal players accepted a 12.5 percent pay cut in April as a result of the financial fall-out from the coronavirus.
But Ozil did not vote for the cut and he is concerned that “possibly the decision affected my chances on the pitch.
“As players, we all wanted to contribute. But we needed more information and many questions were unanswered.”
Ozil fears there is now an agenda against him that will make the rest of his time at Arsenal uncomfortable.
“I guess that’s because it is me and people have been trying for two years to destroy me, to make me unhappy, to push an agenda they hope will turn the supporters against me and pain a picture that is not true,” he said.