Mesut Ozil speaks out on Arsenal future and omission from the side under Mikel Arteta

Mesut Ozil looks on in Arsenal training
Mesut Ozil has no intention of leaving Arsenal this summer (Picture: Getty)

Mesut Ozil has declared his ‘love’ for Arsenal and shut down rumours that he could be set for the exit door this summer by confirming that he intends to remain in north London until ‘the last day’ of his contract.

The 31-year-old midfielder failed to make a single appearance after the season’s restart and was in Turkey as Arsenal beat Chelsea to lift the FA Cup.

Arsenal faced widespread criticism after it was announced that 55 members of staff were being made redundant earlier this month, with many pointing out that Ozil was effectively being paid £350,000-a-week to sit on the sidelines under new head coach Mikel Arteta.

Mesut Ozil looks on during Arsenal's Premier League clash with Southampton
The German did not make a single appearance after the season’s restart (Picture: Getty)

But Ozil says Arsenal’s squad were ‘rushed’ into taking a pay cut and argues that his refusal was completely justified amid the financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Arsenal have reportedly explored the possibility of paying Ozil out of his £18million contract but the ex-Germany international has reiterated his agent’s recent comments by committing his future to the Gunners for at least another season.

‘My position is clear. I’m here through to the last day of our agreement and I’ll give everything I have for this club,’ he told The Athletic.

‘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.

‘I’ll decide when I go, not other people. I didn’t sign for two or three years, I signed for four and that should be respected by everyone.

Gabriel Martinelli and Mesut Ozil pose at the Emirates
The midfielder insists he’s happy and settled in London (Picture: Getty)

‘Things have obviously been difficult but I love Arsenal, I love to work there, I love the people in the club — the real people, those I’ve been with for a long time — and I love London, it’s my home.

‘Whatever happened in the last two seasons, I’m happy and very strong mentally. I never give up on anything.

‘I want to help my team and I’ll fight for it. If I’m fit, I know what I can do on the pitch.’

Mesut Ozil and Mikel Arteta hug after Arsenal's clash with Manchester United
Ozil ‘fully respects’ Arteta’s decision to leave him out the side (Picture: Getty)

Ozil claims he had ‘plenty of options’ to earn higher wages elsewhere before signing a new deal at the Emirates back in February 2018 but decided to stay on out of love for the club.

He added: ‘It’s hard. When a player wants to leave and the club says no, the player must accept it unless they find a solution together. So when a club wants a player to leave and the player says no, the club must accept it unless a solution can be found together. I don’t want to leave, so that’s it.

‘In 2018, I had plenty of options that would have earned me far more money as a free agent, but I committed myself to Arsenal because this was the club and the fanbase I wanted to play for. In that sense, nothing has changed.

‘Mikel knows my quality and I will be ready when he needs me. I’m not going into pre-season thinking, “Final year, I can chill — I know I don’t play”. These are not easy times for Arsenal and I want to help.

‘I still have a lot to offer and I train as hard as I can, whether I’m in the squad or not. If you’re called in, you have to be prepared. I’m doing all the necessary work on the pitch, with the fitness coach and in the gym. This is all I can do.’

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal players celebrate with the FA Cup trophy
Ozil was in Turkey when Arsenal’s players lifted the FA Cup (Picture: Getty)

Ozil admits he’s been ‘disappointed’ by his omission from the side but ‘fully respects’ Mikel Arteta’s decision-making process when it comes to team selection.

‘I can’t talk about my private conversations with the coach but I can tell you I know my body well. I was fit enough to play every game before the break and, apart from a small injury, it was the same after,’ the German continued.

‘My daughter was born while we were off so maybe I was not always sleeping perfectly, but this is normal. I actually had more energy and excitement to play because of her.

‘As a player, you sometimes have bad days and can’t always be happy, especially if you’re not playing. When you know how good you are and you know you’re not going to be picked, it’s hard to be at 100 per cent and, of course, you can get disappointed.

‘This is my profession, it’s what I love doing: being on the pitch, playing matches, showing the people, helping the club and my team.

‘I fully respect the coach’s decision but I believe these things should mainly be decided on the pitch. After the restart, I wasn’t given a chance to show what I can do. You don’t play 10 games in a row if you’re unfit, not good enough or don’t behave well.

‘If I played these games badly and was then left out completely for that reason then I might understand, but this was not the case.’

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