Mesut Ozil’s agent has slammed Arsenal over their treatment of his client, with Dr Erkut Sogut calling for an “honest explanation” from the Gunners as to why the World Cup winner has become an outcast.
With Ozil under contract until the summer of 2021, many have suggested that he will not be seen at Emirates Stadium again.
Sogut is ruling nothing out at this stage, with a stunning U-turn still possible, but concedes that a 32-year-old midfielder appears to have been firmly frozen out.
He is struggling to understand why that decision has been taken, saying Ozil’s commitment to the cause never wavered, and feels Arsenal supporters deserve answers from those at the top of the club.
Sogut told ESPN: “Arsenal fans deserve an honest explanation, not [Arteta] saying 'I failed Ozil.' You didn't fail Ozil: you failed to be fair, honest and transparent and treat someone with respect who has a contract and was loyal all the time.
“Every single person outside knows he hasn't treated him fairly. He didn't give him a chance to show himself this season.
“If he is still under contract, the player should have the option to stay and fight for his place. Mesut hasn't been given that. Why would you put a player on the bench twice for 90 minutes [against Brighton and Crystal Palace in June] if he wasn't fit or committed?
“Everyone says he's training well. Per Mertesacker [Arsenal defender, 2011-18 and now a coach at the club's academy] said this publicly. I spoke with at least five team-mates who say he is training great. They say Mesut is one of their best players, and they cannot understand why he is left out.
"So it can't be the training - if it is not the pitch, what are the footballing reasons? If you talk, you should tell the truth that the Arsenal fans deserve otherwise don't talk at all.”
Setting his sights on Arteta, who brought the curtain down on his playing career while at Arsenal, Sogut added: “He started zero games in the Premier League in his last season.
“He wasn't there in the last six months at all, busy doing his coaching badges and meeting coaches for his future. Mesut plays for one English team and that's it because he feels he can only play for that team. He is a Gunner in the end.
“Mesut is not a player who is yesterday a Toffee and today a Gunner. Arteta didn't play at all in the final two years, but they still registered him because he was given a contract.
"[Former manager] Arsene Wenger put him on the field for the final two minutes of his last game just to give him a nice moment, even though he wasn't fit for months. Look at how [Arteta] was treated in his final two years, and how Mesut is getting treated in his final year.”
Sogut believes Arsenal have been looking to back Ozil into a corner, forcing him to make a decision on his future that the club would rather not take after handing him a lucrative contract back in January 2018.
“Maybe [Arsenal's] goal was to wait until the end and Mesut would say 'I want to leave',” said Sogut.
“If Mesut would have done that, the club can say he wants to go and if they can't find him a club, they have an excuse and can say 'we can't register you because you wanted to leave', but they knew for a long time that Mesut wanted to stay. He made it very clear.
"Maybe they wanted him to feel unwanted and unwelcome, but he wants to play for the badge.
“Mesut is 32 years old. He has a few more years in his career, but it is more about the way of treatment. Mesut is someone who fights for his rights. The contract was a big commitment for him.
“He could have left for another club like Alexis Sanchez [who left Arsenal to join Manchester United in 2018] did. He could have left and got a £30m signing-on fee [somewhere else] as a free agent at the peak of his career - but he stayed loyal.
“Maybe the club will change their position in January and register him. You never know what will happen.”