Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta believes he did all he could to give Mesut Ozil a fair shot before he axed the German from his squad.
Ozil's name was not among Arsenal's 25-man Premier League squad that was released earlier this month, which followed the playmaker's exclusion from Arsenal's Europa League squad.
As the 32-year-old enters the final months of his contract with the Gunners, it now appears likely that he has played his final game for the team.
Ozil did play a part for Arsenal last season, at one point starting 10 consecutive Premier League games for the Gunners before the coronavirus lockdown in March.
The playmaker did not make a single appearance for Arsenal after lockdown, however, but Arteta has still insisted he gave Ozil every chance to impress before he was omitted from his team.
"What I can tell you that I tried my best, I tried to give him as many opportunities as I could," Arteta told Sky Sports.
"And that from my own side, I’ve been patient, given him opportunities and been fair.
"He’s a player that belongs to a football club, he’s been a really important player in the last few seasons. I have to respect that, I’m here to make decisions, the best decisions for the team and for the club.
"This is what I try to do and then I have to explain them because people need the reasons and the right answers. I just give mine, whether they believe me or agree with me or not, there’s nothing I can do.
"But I have to put my decisions, with my heart and with my brain to make the right decisions that I believe are good."
Ozil hit out at Arteta and the Gunners after he was left out of the team, saying "loyalty is hard to come by" in a post on social media.
"This is a difficult message to write to the Arsenal fans that I've played for over the past few years. I'm really deeply disappointed by the fact that I have not been registered for the Premier League season for the time being," Ozil said on Twitter and Instagram.
"Upon signing my new contract in 2018, I pledged my loyalty and allegiance to the club that I love, Arsenal, and it saddens me that this has not been reciprocated. As I have just found out, loyalty is hard to come by nowadays."