Mesut Ozil’s legacy at Arsenal will NOT be tarnished if he ends his first team exile by leaving the club in January says Mikel Arteta… as boss calls for resolution to German’s future in next few days
- Mikel Arteta addressed speculation that Mesut Ozil is close to leaving Arsenal
- The Gunners boss said Ozil’s legacy will not be damaged if he departs in January
- Ozil is out of contract in the summer and he is now free to talk to different teams
Mikel Arteta insists Mesut Ozil will not have tarnished his Arsenal legacy even if he leaves this month after a long spell in exile.
But Ozil, who earns £350,000 a week, has not played for the club since March and Arsenal are in talks to ship him on this month.
Mesut Ozil’s legacy is secure even if he does not play for Arsenal again, says Mikel Arteta
The Arsenal boss believes that what Ozil has done in north London will stand the test of time
Nevertheless Arteta insisted: ‘What Mesut has done at the football club is unquestionable and that will stay. It doesn’t matter if he plays two more games, 10 more games or none.
‘I think what he has done is there for the records, the history of the club and his contribution, I think nobody can discuss that.’
Ozil’s contract runs out at the end of June, meaning he is now free to talk to other clubs. Turkish giants Fenerbahce and a number of MLS clubs – including DC United – are interested in the 32-year-old.
Ozil, who has not been included in the 2020-21 Premier League side, could leave in January
Arteta wants to resolve the playmaker’s future in the coming days and the Arsenal boss says coronavirus could hasten the departure of other players, who may be homesick after almost a year of isolation in north London.
‘It is affecting everything,’ he said. ‘It is affecting financially, it is affecting as well some players that are probably here and they have been stuck for a year here.
‘Now they really realise they need to go back home, they need their family to be happy, they need their family to be next to them.
‘It is a bit of a mixture, but players are experiencing different feelings that are probably new to them. That is why I keep on insisting, this virus is as well about the mental health – not just physically how you are feeling. Mental health is a big, big thing and we have to pay more attention to that.’
He recently expressed his frustrations at his exile during a Q&A session on his Twitter page
Ozil was in the side who won the FA Cup against Chelsea under Arsene Wenger (right) in 2017
The Gunners have already moved quickly to complete the £540,000 signing of teenage centre back Omar Rekik from German side Hertha Berlin.
But Arteta knows Covid will only complicate their chances of avoiding another late-window rush for reinforcements.
‘The situation around every club is not easy and to get the negotiations going as well is harder because you cannot be face to face,’ he said.
‘You cannot travel to another country and make a deal happen like that. Everything has to be through the phone or Zoom. It can go either way to be fair. I can tell you what I would like, which is on day one to have the squad like I want and the players out and in sorted, but I think it is really complicated right now.’