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'That's not okay!' - Podolski blasts Arsenal & Arteta for Ozil treatment

12:15 GMT 07/11/2020
Lukas Podolski Mesut Ozil Arsenal
The former Germany international, who also played for the Gunners, believes his old team-mate deserves better treatment from the Premier League side

Former Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski has criticised the club and coach Mikel Arteta for their treatment of out-of-favour midfielder Mesut Ozil.

Ozil, 32, has not made a senior appearance for Arsenal since March and has been left out of the squad for the Premier League and Europa League this season.

The midfielder made headlines for his refusal to accept a pay cut during the coronavirus crisis before publicly offering to pay the wages of the club's mascot after he was reportedly made redundant.

Mikel Arteta said at the end of October that he "tried to give him as many opportunities" to Ozil to win back his place in the squad, but Podolski says his former team-mate has been treated unfairly. 

"I don't know the background, but I generally think with a player who is now in his sixth or seventh year with the club, to kick him completely out of the squad... that’s absolutely not okay," he told Bild .

"You don’t do something like that, and I don’t know if something happened in the background or not but even if he’s done something, you don’t do it.

"He's shown his class on the pitch, he's never been negative towards his colleagues or the club. It's sad because everyone's losing in this situation. It should not end this way. Arsenal as a club have not looked positive in this situation over the last months."

Ozil's situation has been a big talking point in the media, with the Germany international the subject of severe criticism from many ex-Arsenal players  and pundits over the past 12 months.

But former Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny voiced his support, describing him as "a very good person".

"As a player, he is in my opinion a phenomenon. He can find passes that no one sees, he’s a maestro," he told L'Equipe. "He can rock a game with incredible passes.

"We’re both part of the ‘Arsene Wenger Generation’. The coach loved him as a player. It was more complicated with Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta."

Meanwhile, Ozil's agent criticised the Arsenal boss for his handling of the situation, telling 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."