'Goodbye for now, not goodbye forever' - Ozil bids farewell to Arsenal fans after completing Fenerbahce move

Mesut Ozil Arsenal 2019-20
The playmaker says his bond with the north London club is not over just because he has left after almost eight years

Mesut Ozil says he will be a "Gunner for life" after leaving Arsenal to join Fenerbahce.

The attacking midfielder's free transfer to the Turkish giants was confirmed on Sunday.

Across almost eight years with the Premier League side, Ozil won the FA Cup four times and made 254 appearances in all competitions.

The 32-year-old was frozen out of the Arsenal squad this season, but he said in a long open letter published on social media that he will always support the club.

"It feels strange to be writing this message after such a long time here in London. Since the moment I arrived, it has felt like home," he wrote. "I was welcomed with open arms by all the Arsenal staff, my team-mates, and most importantly the incredible fans. I will always be grateful for the trust placed in me by Arsene Wenger in September 2013.

"I've grown up as an adult in North London, a place I can always call home. I'll never forget that.

"Being with Arsenal for so long has meant I've experienced a big mix of ups and downs. Over 250 games, 44 goals and 71 assists later, it's time that Arsenal and I finally part ways.

"Together we ended the club's nine-year trophy drought and brought long needed silverware back to the fans who deserved it. 

"It's difficult for me to put into words the love I feel for this club and the fans. How could I possibly describe eight years of gratitude in a single letter? Whilst I may be no longer playing for the club, I will continue to support them in every game they play. I will be a Gunner for life - no doubt about that.

"Now more than ever we must all be behind the team. This season is a tough one for every team in the Premier League, and that is why we must all back the current squad and staff no matter the results.

"For me, it's amazing to see some of the boys from Hale End coming through into the first team setup. As we all know, they are the future of our club and I wish them every success!

"Hearing my name changed around Emirates Stadium will forever give me goosebumps, and the memories I've made putting on this jersey wil stick with me for life. Much has been written about my time at Arsenal, especially in recent months.

"Arsenal is a club of class and prestige, something that I felt every time I walked onto the pitch. Players, staff and management always come and go - but the club's values and fans will remain forever.

"The principles of class, respect and dignity must never be forgotten. It is the responsibility of every single person from the club to make sure they carry out their job in the name of these values. 

"As I said, the past few months haven't been the easiest. Like every player, I want to play every minute of football for my team. In life however, things do not always play out how we expect or want them to. But it is important to look for the positives in life and not the negative, which is why I try to live with no regrets and holding no grudges.

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"Being at Arsenal was more than just football, it was about community. As much as I tried to assist on the pitch, I tried to be part of the London community as much as I could too.

"North London took me in as one of its own, and every season I embarked on a different project to bring happiness to this incredible community. Although I might be leaving North London, this will not stop. 

"It might be the end of a chapter, but my connection with this amazing club will never fade. It might be goodbye for now, but it's not goodbye forever."