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'A lot has changed away from the field' — Per Mertesacker attempts to explain Arsenal star Mesut Ozil's lack of minutes

Arsenal star Mesut Ozil
Arsenal star Mesut Ozil
Sai Teja
Modified 19 Oct 2020, 21:44 IST

Former Arsenal and Germany great Per Mertesacker suggested that Mesut Ozil's continual exclusion from Arsenal's matchday squads could have something to do with off-field matters.

The German midfielder, one of Arsenal's most expensive purchases in their history, has been completely frozen out of their squad and is yet to play a single minute of football since March. While the midfielder was sparingly used by Unai Emery during the beginning of his tenure at the Emirates, Ozil's game time has seen a further dip under Mikel Arteta.

His former teammate believes that there could be more to the situation than what meets the eye in this case.

Mertesacker 'sorry' for Ozil's situation at Arsenal

Mertesacker and Ozil played together at Arsenal, Werder Bremen, and for Germany
Mertesacker and Ozil played together at Arsenal, Werder Bremen, and for Germany

Speaking on Mesut Ozil's continuous exclusion, the 36-year-old expressed;

"A lot has changed away from the field. He [Mesut] got married, has a family. Perhaps his focus has changed. Nevertheless, he is still happy and happy to play football."

Arsenal's academy coach added,

"He's the only player I've played with for three teams - [Werder] Bremen, Arsenal, and also at the DFB [German National Team]. So I'm very sorry that he's currently in a situation where he's not really used."

The German was made Arsenal's highest-ever earner after signing a contract extension that saw him earn a staggering £350,000-a-week under Unai Emery. However, he saw his stock fall significantly and quickly fell out of favour.

This year, the former Real Madrid midfielder as well as Sokratis were both left out of Arsenal's UEFA Europa League squad. Both were rumoured to be on their way out of the Emirates this summer, but neither of their exits from Arsenal materialised.


When asked about their exclusions from their Europa League squads, Mertesacker remarked;

"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."

As things stand, Ozil appears increasingly unlikely to play a role for Arteta's rendition of Arsenal.

The Spaniard has overseen an incredible revival of the Gunners, guiding them to both the FA Cup and Community Shield in less than a year since he took over from Unai Emery.

Also read: 10 Biggest Ballon d'Or wins in football history

Published 19 Oct 2020, 21:44 IST
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