Mesut Ozil’s former Arsenal teammate Per Mertesacker believes matters in the player’s personal life may have contributed to his lack of action on the pitch.
Ozil has been completely frozen out of the team by manager Mikel Arteta, and has not played a minute of football for the Gunners since March.
There were rumours he could be sold in the summer but a transfer never materialised, and it seems almost certain he will now leave on a free at the end of the season when his contract expires.
It is yet to be seen if the 32-year-old is ever seen in an Arsenal shirt again, but speaking on the Klick and Rush podcast Mertesacker, who is now the club’s academy chief, stated his belief that Ozil’s focus may have switched recently.
“A lot has changed away from the field,” Mertesacker said. “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.”
Ozil was recently left out of Arteta’s squad for the Europa League group stages, meaning his only opportunity for game-time will be in domestic competitions for the foreseeable future.
Speaking recently on the decision to omit both Ozil and Sokratis from Europe, Arteta said: “I spoke to them face to face before I released the squad and I explained the reason why the numbers that we had. It was really difficult to tell them that, but these are the restrictions and the rules.
“We have to respect that decision and try to train in the best possible way to help the team in that moment and see what happens in December.”
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