‘I tried my best’: Mikel Arteta insists he gave £350,000-a-week Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil ‘as many opportunities as I could’ but claims his first-team exile is ‘best for the club’
- Mesut Ozil has been exiled once again by Arsenal – this time by Mikel Arteta
- The German has been left out of Arsenal’s 25-man league and European squads
- Ozil and his agent have hit out at the club over a lack of honesty and loyalty
- Arteta has bitten back – claiming he has given Ozil chances to prove himself
Mikel Arteta claimed he has been ‘fair’ on Mesut Ozil and tried to get midfielder performing again before his exile from the Arsenal first-team squad.
The German midfielder is the Gunners’ highest-earner on £350,000-a-week but was left out of Arsenal’s 25-man squads for the Premier League and Europa League competitions this month.
Ozil hit back at both Arteta and the club following his omission, claiming that ‘loyalty is hard to come by’, while his agent Dr Erkut Sogut says the Arsenal manager ‘failed’ himself by not getting the best out of the midfielder.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta (L) has claimed he has been ‘fair’ and ‘tried his best’ with Mesut Ozil
Ozil was left out of the 25-man squads for this season’s Premier League and Europa League
But Arteta has hit back at the claims, telling Sky Sports: ‘What I can tell you (is) that I tried my best, I tried to give him as many opportunities as I could. And that from my own side, I’ve been patient, given him opportunities and been fair.
‘He’s a player that belongs to a football club, he’s been a really important player in the last few seasons. I have to respect that, I’m here to make decisions, the best decisions for the team and for the club.
‘This is what I try to do and then I have to explain them because people need the reasons and the right answers.
Arteta (right) believes he has given Ozil (middle) chances despite not playing him since March
‘I just give mine, whether they believe me or agree with me or not, there’s nothing I can do. But I have to put my decisions, with my heart and with my brain to make the right decisions that I believe are good.’
Ozil was an ever-present figure when Arteta first arrived at the club and featured in every game from Boxing Day 2019 to the coronavirus hiatus in March 2020.
But the German has not played a minute of football since then, as Arsenal ended the last campaign with an eighth-placed Premier League finish, though did manage to win the FA Cup.
The Gunners have started the current league season with three wins and three defeats in their opening six games, with Ozil not allowed to play for the club until January at least due to not being registered.
Ozil was a regular in Arteta’s side at the beginning of his tenure but has been exiled again
Dr Sogut, the German’s representative, claimed Arteta was not ‘fair, honest and transparent’ in dealing with his client who faced a helpless winter on the sidelines.
The agent told ESPN this month: ‘Arsenal fans deserve an honest explanation, not [Arteta] saying, “I failed Ozil.” You didn’t fail Ozil. You failed to be fair, honest and transparent and treat someone with respect who has a contract and was loyal all the time.
‘Every single person outside knows he hasn’t treated him fairly. He didn’t give him a chance to show himself this season. If he is still under contract, the player should have the option to stay and fight for his place. Mesut hasn’t been given that.
Ozil’s agent, Dr. Erkut Sogut (above), claims Arteta has not been fair and honest with Ozil
‘I spoke with at least five team-mates who say he is training great. They say Mesut is one of their best players, and they cannot understand why he is left out. So it can’t be the training.
‘If it is not the pitch, what are the footballing reasons? If you talk, you should tell the truth that the Arsenal fans deserve, otherwise don’t talk at all.’
Ozil arrived as Arsenal’s record signing for a £42.5million fee in 2014 and has helped them win three FA Cups during his time at the club.