Mesut Ozil has made it clear that he will not be leaving Arsenal before the end of his contract, stating that he will “give everything” for the club and that his four-year deal should be respected by all parties.
The playmaker's situation at the Emirates has been the topic of much debate in recent times, with both current head coach Mikel Arteta and former boss Unai Emery having left him out of matchday squads despite being fit.
Given the 31-year-old is on a massive £350,000-per-week salary, fans and pundits alike have questioned whether those funds could be better spent elsewhere as Arteta continues to undertake a rebuilding job in north London.
Ozil, however, insists that only he will decide when he leaves the Gunners and will continue to fight for his place in the first team until he is no longer under contract.
“My position is clear,” the German told The Athletic. “I’m here through to the last day of our agreement and I’ll give everything I have for this club.
“Situations like these will never break me, they only make me stronger. I showed in the past that I can come back into the team and I will show it again.”
“I’ll decide when I go, not other people. I didn’t sign for two or three years, I signed for four and that should be respected by everyone.
“Things have obviously been difficult but I love Arsenal, I love to work there, I love the people in the club — the real people, those I’ve been with for a long time — and I love London, it’s my home.
“Whatever happened in the last two seasons, I’m happy and very strong mentally. I never give up on anything. I want to help my team and I’ll fight for it. If I’m fit, I know what I can do on the pitch.”
Whether Arteta decides to draft Ozil back into his first-team plans remains the big question in terms of whether the attacking midfielder will get any time on the pitch, but he says he will be ready if and when he is called upon and remains committed to the Arsenal cause.
“When a player wants to leave and the club says no, the player must accept it unless they find a solution together. So when a club wants a player to leave and the player says no, the club must accept it unless a solution can be found together. I don’t want to leave, so that’s it,” Ozil added.
“In 2018, I had plenty of options that would have earned me far more money as a free agent, but I committed myself to Arsenal because this was the club and the fanbase I wanted to play for. In that sense, nothing has changed. Mikel knows my quality and I will be ready when he needs me.
“I’m not going into pre-season thinking, ‘Final year, I can chill — I know I don’t play’. These are not easy times for Arsenal and I want to help.
“I still have a lot to offer and I train as hard as I can, whether I’m in the squad or not. If you’re called in, you have to be prepared. I’m doing all the necessary work on the pitch, with the fitness coach and in the gym. This is all I can do.”