Mesut Ozil was fulfilling a boyhood dream when linking up with Fenerbahce, but a stint in Turkey has turned into something of a nightmare for the former Arsenal star and he has been removed from the squad of his current employers.
The 2014 World Cup winner severed ties with the Gunners in January 2021 and embraced an opportunity to link up with the team that he grew up supporting.
He has, however, found the going tough in Istanbul and now finds himself frozen out of first-team plans after being taken off at half-time in his most recent outing against Konyaspor.
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What has been said?
A brief statement from Fener released on the club’s official website read: “Football A Team players Mesut Ozil and Ozan Tufan have been excluded from the squad as per the decisions taken.”
What has happened to Ozil in Turkey?
After coming in for plenty of criticism towards the end of his spell in England, Ozil had been hoping to make a fresh start in Turkey.
Questions were always going to be asked of his contribution, though, while working on a big contract and he has failed to live up to expectations.
He registered just one assist and no goals through his opening 11 appearances for Fener and has sat out several weeks through injury in the current campaign.
His output has improved, with the target found on eight occasions in the Super Lig this season, but he has not been as inspirational as everybody concerned with a high-profile deal had hoped.
A back problem picked up in January forced him to miss seven games in all competitions before returning to action in early March.
He was then hauled off at the interval during a 2-1 victory over Konyaspor, with that outing coming on the back of reports that Fener had to refute regarding Ozil’s regular absences.
They said in response to claims that the 33-year-old was refusing to play due to payments not arriving on time: “The news that Mesut Ozil did not play because his debts from the club were not paid have nothing to do with the facts.
“As we have often experienced, this kind of fake news that is created completely haphazardly without being confirmed by any official from our club is beyond our tolerance limit.
“Despite the heavy economic conditions at Fenerbahce, payments have been made on time until now.”
There have since been reports in Spain, where Ozil has previously turned out for Real Madrid, suggesting that a man who earned 92 caps for Germany before heading into international retirement is ready to look for a new club in the summer transfer window.
It remains to be seen how many more competitive outings he will take in before then, with Fenerbahce taking the decision to announce his removal from their ranks despite Ismail Kartal’s side taking in a break from action until April 2.