The way Arsenal have treated Mesut Ozil in the past few months has been “absolutely not okay”, according to Gunners cult hero Lukas Podolski.
The 32-year-old midfielder has been frozen out at the Emirates Stadium for a number of months, his last competitive appearance under Mikel Arteta coming in March.
Ozil did not play a single minute after the resumption of English football in June, and although he did get some minutes in pre-season friendly action, he remained on the sidelines in 2020-21.
Indeed, he wasn’t even included in Arteta’s Premier League and Europa League squads, and didn’t feature in the domestic cup competitions either.
Now, according to Sky Sports, Arsenal and Ozil are close to finalising the outstanding details of his contract termination ahead of his medical and move to Fenerbahce on Friday.
Former club and international teammate Podolski, who played for Arsenal from 2012 to 2015 and now plies his trade in Turkey with Antalyaspor, sais the whole situation has been unacceptable.
“I generally think with a player who is now in his sixth or seventh year with the club, to kick him completely out of the squad, that’s absolutely not okay,” he told Bild, via the Evening Standard.
“He’s shown his class on the pitch, he’s never been negative towards his colleagues or the club. Arsenal as a club have not looked positive in this situation over the last months.
“I am delighted that Mesut will play for us in Turkey in the future. He is an asset to the league and at 32 years of age is still in his prime footballing age.
“It was really a shame that it ended like this. No professional is satisfied if he is not allowed to play. Now Mesut can finally do what we all love again: play football.”
Ozil split opinion while at Arsenal and is continuing to split opinion during his departure from the Emirates Stadium and imminent switch to Fenerbahce.
Some football figures reckon Arteta and the club are doing the right thing – Glenn Hoddle, for example, is unsure why Ozil “took his foot off the pedal” and claimed that “in games (he) wanted the easy way to play football”.
Others, like Podolski, are sad and angry that things have played out the way they have, and think the Gunners have come out this looking terrible.
One thing’s for sure – it’s for the best that the two parties are going their separate ways – Ozil can get on with playing football and Arsenal can get on with their own quest for progress and silverware.