Mesut Ozil's agent has launched a scathing attack on Martin Keown, claiming that jealousy was behind the former Arsenal defender's "stupid" comments on the attacking midfielder.
Keown slated Ozil's performance in last week's Europa League loss at Atletico Madrid, claiming that the Germany international had not been fit to wear the Gunners shirt, and even going so far as to claim that the 29-year-old had feigned being upset at the full-time whistle.
However, Ozil's representative, Dr. Erkut Sogut, has now hit back in savage fashion, claiming that Ozil has been playing through the pain this season, as well as completely dismissing Keown's credentials, both as a pundit and a player.
"I think that Martin Keown feels that just because he used to play football, it gives him the right to attack the current generation of stars," the agent told Goal.
"Perhaps he just wants to remain relevant, or maybe it is due to jealousy?
"Is he envious about the money and exposure that current footballers have - I don’t know.
"But to sit there and criticise, and criticise, and criticise, time and time again, it’s getting a bit boring, in all honesty.
"He returned to Arsenal but was still a reserve - always in the shadow of Adams/Bould/Dixon/Winterburn and then Campbell/Toure/Lauren/Cole.
"His behaviour towards [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy at Old Trafford brought shame on Arsenal, he will say it showed his passion when really it was bad sportsmanship.
"If Mesut, or any other player in this era were to act like that, they would bring great shame upon themselves and their club.
"In the 2004 Invincible season, Arsene Wenger let him play the last minute vs Leicester to qualify for a winner's medal.
"Otherwise he would not be an Invincible because he didn’t play enough games. He wasn’t a real part of the team.
"Even Keown's team-mate Ray Parlour said publicly he would have killed Wenger if he did not let him come on the pitch against Leicester.
"This is again representative of the behaviour against Manchester United - he claims passion, whilst it is really aggression."
Sogut then savaged Keown's coaching career, as well as accusing the former England international of hypocrisy in his treatment of outgoing Arsenal boss Wenger.
"He spent time helping coach the defenders at London Colney some time ago but then it stopped. Why would it stop if he was so good and knew so much about the game?
"Was it that Arsene Wenger, the players and staff did not want him there?
"Since then, he has remained an outsider from the club - he has very little knowledge of the internal events at the club, and is in no position to comment with such confidence. Does he have access to medical records... no.
"He spent many years criticising Wenger. Then it is announced Wenger is leaving and Keown starts to say nice things about Wenger - and after the Burnley game he had the audacity to go on the pitch with the real, and loyal, legends like Robert Pires.
"He questions Mesut’s loyalty, but can’t stick behind his own arguments - how can his opinion be trusted or validated?
"On the same programme, even a former Tottenham player [Jermaine Jenas] said Mesut is not in the team to defend.
"Jenas said he watched Mesut for Real Madrid and Germany and he is in the team to create chances and assist the goals - why when he comes to Arsenal do people think he should completely change the style of play that has earned him so much success.
"This style of play has earned him more international success than most ever.
"With 89 caps for Germany (in what some would say is a golden era for the national team), he has won the most prestigious trophy in football. Keown achieved very little in his 43 caps for England.
A cursory glance at the stats for Ozil’s season shows a player averaging the most key passes per game of any player in the Premier League. Looking further back, all the way to the 2013/2014 season, shows him top in this regard for all but one season.https://t.co/SWIqN1k5BT— Kristan Heneage (@KHeneage) 8 May 2018
"Arsenal will finish the season having scored 54 league goals at the Emirates; their joint-highest tally of home goals in a Premier League campaign, along with 2004/05. So attack is no problem.
"The problem is defence. How is this the fault of Mesut? Have you looked at how Mesut’s statistics compare to other Arsenal players? Maybe you should do that because you speak badly of him.
"Why is Mesut the only player Keown criticises? Yet similarly, he is loved by a strong majority of Arsenal fans across the world?
"When you are a small name compared to all the other football pundits on TV and radio like Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, is it simply a coincidence that you decide to repeatedly criticise the biggest name in the team?
"This harks back to the aforementioned points about jealousy and remaining relevant.
"Did you criticise Mesut with so much passion at a time when the fans were in pain after losing to Atletico because you knew it would give the fans a scapegoat and make you look like a hero who cares the most about Arsenal? They sang your name in the stadium so you must be happy with that.
"You said that Mesut was not loyal and would run down his contract and leave the club. Good prediction - he signed a new contract.
"Talking about loyalty and dedication, he has played throughout the season against medical advice. This has been kept hidden from the public, but when you’re attacked so viciously, it deserves a mention.
"We are responding to you not because your words hurt us but because they are wrong. You cannot break us as you cannot influence the fans and people at the club, all of whom love Mesut.
"Mesut wants to lead this club forward while you try to divide the club to keep yourself in the public eye and relevant with stupid, incorrect comments.
"You joke Mesut will have an 'emotional breakdown'. Do you think it is funny to joke about mental health?"