Martin Keown reveals the moment Arsenal ‘lost’ Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on June 16, 2020 in St Albans, England.
Ozil has become an outcast (Picture: Getty)

Martin Keown believes Mesut Ozil hasn’t been ‘the same player’ since signing a bumper new contract and that was the moment where Arsenal ‘lost a part’ of the World Cup winner.

Ozil has been frozen out at the Emirates and hasn’t played competitive football since March.

He was left out of Mikel Arteta’s squads for both the Premier League and Europa League, despite being the club’s highest-paid player.

Ozil put pen to paper on a deal worth £350,000-a-week in January 2018 – the same transfer window where Alexis Sanchez joined Manchester United.

And while former centre-back Keown understands why Arsenal spent big to keep Ozil at the club, he thinks that it ‘might have been better to lose both players’.

‘Ivan Gazidis was the chief executive at the time, Arsene Wenger wanted him to sign,’ Keown told Stadium Astro.

Martin Keown before the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Portsmouth FC and Arsenal FC at Fratton Park on March 02, 2020 in Portsmouth, England.
Keown defended Arteta over Ozil’s continued exile (Picture: Getty)

‘But he wouldn’t have known what monies were involved. I think the club felt they were in this dilemma.

‘They looked at the spreadsheets, they were allowing Sanchez to go for nothing and they didn’t want Ozil to do the same. That was the intention.

‘You look back now and you might have been better to lose both players. Because maybe we lost a part of Ozil at that point.

‘I don’t believe he’s been the same player ever since.’

While some have questioned the decision to leave Ozil out of the squad entirely – particularly given Arsenal are lacking creativity in the final third – Keown is unmoved by the German’s exile.

‘He’s shown he’s now not up to the level,’ he added.

‘We’re not there, we’re not privy to the work every day. But there’s a standard that you need to get to. He’s obviously not got anywhere near that.

‘You can’t be the best player and not be in the team if you’re applying yourself. That’s what I believe it to be, I think Arteta is an honest man, if he was working hard enough and showing enough he’d be in the team. Why wouldn’t he be in the team?

‘You can see he wants more creativity but he wants a different culture now. He wants more physicality, he’s bringing in the likes of Gabriel and Partey – they’re the future, he doesn’t want to turn to Ozil.

‘It’s a strong intention when you consider the money they’re paying him but they want something else, they want to move to the future. It doesn’t look as if Ozil is going to part of that.

‘You have to work hard. There’s a way of working within the football club. Clearly he can’t be doing that.

‘This is not just a political move by the football club, they know he’s not working right. He’s not showing the right work ethic, he’s not applying himself, they don’t want that around the young players.

‘It’s about building to the future. It doesn’t matter what they’re paying him, it’s about what he does on the training pitch. Arteta gave him a chance at the beginning.

‘Now it looks like he’s not going to be there. The sooner that can happen, the better. I think it’s painful to everybody associated with the football club to keep talking about a player that the manager doesn’t want there.’

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