Per Mertesacker admits he’s ‘very sorry’ for the current situation with Mesut Özil, suggesting the player’s focus may have changed.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 04: of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on September 04, 2020 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
ST ALBANS, ENGLAND: Mesut Özil and Willian of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on September 04, 2020. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Over the weekend, Mesut Özil missed out on another Arsenal squad as they travelled to face Manchester City. It wasn’t a surprise, as his last trip with the team was over 18 games ago. It’s just the latest exclusion for the 32-year-old.

Most likely, his absence for the next few months will become official in the coming days. Arsenal have to announce their Premier League squad, and they don’t have enough spaces for everyone. Özil is a probable casualty, already missing from the Europa League group.

That would mean no Europa League, no Premier League and no League Cup matches until January at the very earliest. To qualify for a League Cup squad you have to be in the Premier League squad on the relevant date.

Arsenal academy chief Per Mertesacker talked about the situation this week.

“A lot has changed away from the field,” Mertesacker said on the Klick and Rush podcast (via Football-London). “He got married, has a family. Perhaps his focus has changed. Nevertheless, he is still happy and happy to play football.

“He’s the only player I’ve played with for three teams – Bremen, Arsenal, and also at the DFB. So I’m very sorry that he’s currently in a situation where he’s not really used.”

The family comment is a little confusing. My read on it is that he’s saying Özil’s main focus is now his family, so he’d prefer to stay at Arsenal and not play if it keeps them happier than moving away and playing would.

Whatever the reason, it seems we have eight or so months of this ahead of us.