Mesut Ozil being ushered out of the back door at Arsenal is “sad”, says Martin Keown, with questions asked of why a player that once reached the very top of the game has fallen so far.
After seven-and-a-half years at Emirates Stadium, a World Cup winner is heading for the exits.
A move to Fenerbahce appears to be on the cards for a boyhood fan of the Turkish outfit, with that deal set to be pushed through with a player heading towards free agency in the summer.
Ozil will leave north London with his potential unfilled, despite taking in 254 appearances for Arsenal and claiming three FA Cup winners’ medals.
He has been viewed as a key man at times, with Arsene Wenger tying him to lucrative contracts, but a classy operator has often struggled to deliver on expectation.
Keown has been a critic throughout Ozil’s stint in England, with more demanded of a player that remains a match-winner on his day.
The former Gunners defender is disappointed to see a deal that offered so much promise fizzling out, with a Premier League heavyweight preparing to move on from a midfielder that Mikel Arteta has frozen out of his plans in 2020-21.
Keown told BBC Sport: “I find it really sad that a player of that ability has not been able to finish his career in the right way at Arsenal.
“You cannot drop when you have got that technical ability and the vision he has as a player. What’s happening that you drop so much?
“It has to be about the way you are applying yourself. And if he wasn’t doing that properly on the training ground, the manager has to make a change.
“The football club now needs to look to the future and these youngsters bring so much promise.
“So we can afford to let the Ozils go if they are not going to really give it everything for the football club.”
Ozil’s last appearance for Arsenal came prior to a coronavirus-enforced lockdown in March 2020, with it being made clear to him this season that did not figure in Arteta’s long-term thinking.