Mesut Özil says things changed for him at Arsenal after Arsene Wenger left, but he’s hoping the club can deliver the league title to the fans in May.

Arsene Wenger, Mesut Ozil
Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil (L) and French manager Arsene Wenger (R) speak during a team training session on September 30, 2013. (Photo: GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil announced his retirement from professional football this week, citing his recent injury struggles as part of the reason for his decision.

Speaking to Marca after that announcement, Özil discussed his time with his former clubs, including Arsenal.

“The first years were very good for me,” Özil said of that spell in north London. “We’ve played Champions League – we had a great team with a lot of great characters and an amazing manager with Mon. Arsene Wenger.

“After he left the club, a lot of things changed for me. But I have no interest in adding fuel to the fire again.

“I am relaxed now and I wish the fans of the club really the best because they’ve always been very supportive towards me. I would be happy for the Arsenal fans if they could celebrate the Premier League title in the summer. They deserve it!”

Elaborating on Wenger’s influence on him, Özil explained that the manager was conspicuous by his absence.

“He was a true gentleman. Always very respectful. When he left the club, something was missing. We had a great relationship and I feel privileged that he was my manager at Arsenal.”

Ozil Wenger
Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger (R) interacts with Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil during the pre-season friendly football match between Arsenal and Sevilla at The Emirates Stadium in north London on July 30, 2017. (OLLY GREENWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

In a way, the timing of everything with Özil and Wenger was rather unfortunate.

After an extended deliberation on his future with Arsenal, Özil signed a contract extension to remain with the club in early 2018. Just a few months later, Wenger announced he was leaving.

That left the German international under contract at Arsenal for three more seasons, but without the manager he’d signed on to play under.

Özil clearly didn’t get along with Unai Emery, Freddie Ljungberg, or Mikel Arteta as well as he did with Wenger, and that ended up spelling the end for his Gunners career.

Perhaps if Wenger had announced his departure earlier, the playmaker would have too. In hindsight, that may have been for the best.

Yet it wasn’t all bad after Wenger’s exit. In fact, Özil names one of his games under Emery as his best in an Arsenal shirt.

“I think my best game for Arsenal was in 2018 against Leicester City – 3-1,” the 34-year-old told Marca.