Mesut Ozil was pictured training with the Arsenal squad ahead of their last Premier League game of the season but there will be no goodbyes for the man who was supposed to herald a new era but turned out to be something else instead.
Let’s face it, Mesut Ozil isn’t getting anywhere near the FA Cup final squad, not after being ignored for this long.
It’s clear Ozil’s time at Arsenal is up. I don’t know how they’re going to get him to leave, or why, beyond his massive wages, they want to. But it’s obvious that’s what the club wants.
His wages alone are no reason not to use him. You’re still paying him. By not using him you’re letting your most expensive asset rot away his re-sale value unless playing him would rot it away more.
Could that be possible?
So, it must be ‘tactical’.
Attitude or application? Both? Neither? We don’t know.
How it got to this, we still don’t know, either. It seemed to start around the time of the Europa League final defeat, when he reportedly said to Unai Emery, ‘You’re not a coach’ as the Spaniard subbed him off, but can we know for sure that’s what did it?
What is Ozil doing or not doing that has seen him displease both Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta? It was easy to dismiss his non-selection when Mr. Mid-Table, now at Villarreal, was in charge.
What’s Arteta’s excuse when it comes to a player he once called ‘the best in the squad‘?
You could argue he’s been instructed not to select Ozil so as to drive him from the club in some grand conspiracy between Raul and Edu and who knows who else. Again, however, I go back to the point above. You don’t take a brick to your Ferrari just because you want rid of it. Sure, the petrol costs a ton but if you can’t afford the insurance, you let people see it running in perfect condition. They’re more likely to want it.
Ozil’s signing in 2013 was supposed to be a watershed moment for Arsenal Football Club. It signalled the ending of austerity and our march towards the trophies we were promised as we waited. And waited. And waited.
In a way Ozil had been that – a watershed for the club. But not in anything like the way it was intended.
His arrival heralded the end of prudence at Arsenal and with it, seemingly, sense. Here was the club that had stuck to a wage structure religiously, despite that meaning they had to keep playing Denilson and Co., suddenly throwing obscene money with wild abandon.
Yes, we called for them to ‘spend some f**king money,’ but not like morons, undoing all the hard work that had gone before. Because the club asked for patience, we cheered for Marouane Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner, for christ’s sake.
Maybe Ozil, who was supposed to herald the dawn of a new era at Arsenal was never that. That was merely what we wanted and needed him to be.
Perhaps instead, he is the last remnants of Wenger’s time, a player with a similar trajectory who evokes identical feelings of joy, rage, adulation, and vitriol in fans.
Maybe Mesut Ozil is the one who encapsulates all of Wenger’s 20 years at Arsenal in a single player. The cliched sublime and ridiculous, all rolled into one enigmatic political football.
Ozil arrived in London as the third most expensive signing in British football history and was never allowed to forget it, even as prices soared.
No matter what he delivered on the pitch, a media obsessed with handshakes and meaningless formalities couldn’t reconcile a player with body-language like Mesut’s and a player who was giving his all, despite the stats frequently telling them he was covering more ground than just about everybody else on the pitch while also chalking up assists.
The tone was set early on.
I defended him for as long as was possible, and I will always maintain he has been unfairly treated on multiple fronts while acknowledging he has also made errors of judgement of his own.
The criticism of him for asking Recep Tayyip Erdogan to be his best man was expected and deserved. His treatment at the hands of China and Germany, however, was not, despite the silence that met his claims and their actions. One does not excuse the other but when it comes to Mesut Ozil, on and off the pitch, there has been a lot of hypocrisy and narrative building to suit other agendas, perhaps more than you find with others players due to his because of his heritage and reluctance to speak publicly.
He was a political pawn to many and, at Arsenal, he looks like he could be paying for what he represents more than what he is capable of with a football at his feet.
Arsene Wenger may have bought Mikel Arteta and handed him the armband at Arsenal. But he’s Sanllehi’s man now.
And we all know what Raul came to Arsenal for…