Former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has defended Mesur Ozil, saying his omission from the Arsenal playing squad this season is not related to football.
This is in contrast to what the manager, Mikel Arteta said at a press conference ahead of their Europa League opener against Austria Vienna tonight. Arteta claimed that the decision to omit the German playmaker from the squad is related to football, with many stating that it was otherwise.
The reaction is coming from the recent statement released by Ozil, who scored 44 goals in 254 appearances for the Gunners since joining from Real Madrid seven years ago. The playmaker is believed to have had internal issues with the club during the COVID-19 lockdown after turning down a pay cut request.
He was alleged to have encouraged others not to accede to it as well. He is being seen as the scape goat.
Ozil can fight for his place – Wenger
Speaking with Sky Sports News over the development, Wenger who brought the world cup winner to the Emirate in 2013 for a then-club-record £42m, defended the player in his new autobiography My Life in Red and White.
“Mesut Ozil is an exceptional football player. What happens at the moment between him and the club looks to be more confrontational. It’s not based only on sport.
“Why is he not playing at the moment? I don’t know. When you’re a football player you have to respect the decision of your manager and fight to get the confidence back and fight to get back in the team. He can fight, contrary to what people think. He has enough quality to get back into the team, that’s down to him now,” he said.
Wenger noted that the game has changed around the playmaker, but he’s yet to adapt. This according to him is because he’s been used to playing around greatness and as the Arsenal team deteriorated.
Wenger who stated that he didn’t know why Ozil is not in Arteta’s plans, expressed the belive that he can play in the Premier League.
“You practise every day and you make sure if it doesn’t work you can go and play somewhere else.”
Whose gain or loss is Ozil’s exclusion?
Now that Ozil’s season is practically over in Arsenal, one can say this is a big gamble by Arteta.
The German on his day has a high work rate and his creativity is top notch. Off the field of play, he might have his own issues.
The issue many have been pointing to could be traced to the pay cut issues with the club. It is surprising to drop a player who upped his game after the exit of Unai Emery and played ten straight games afterward.
If not for COVID-19, the midfielder could have been in a better position and Arsenal might have been thinking of how to hand in a new deal depending on his level of form. But things look otherwise for Ozil at the moment.
One thing is certain, he will never forget COVID-19 and his struggle at the club. But the positives is that he is confident that he will get over this judging from his recent statement over the alleged ill treatment meted out to his by the Arsenal hierachy.
With no game played since after the resumption, it’s a sad day for Arsenal and a sad day for him. One would wonder why a player earning £350,000 weekly is shut out of a team.
Obviously, Ozil wants to play football. It is also surprising that he didn’t even get a minute even during the games Arsenal were in control. As can be seen, Arteta has not allowed his former colleague to prove himself on the pitch.
The game might have changed and there is more dynamism to it, but Ozil’s game hasn’t changed. The current football climate lacks his type of number 10 as the game keeps evolving almost on a daily basis.