Mesut Ozil is believed to have become a divisive source in the Arsenal squad, with the players taking sides apart on whether the 32-year-old should be brought back into the fold.
Ozil last played for Arsenal in early March, over nine months ago, in what turned out to be the club’s last game before the coronavirus first lockdown. He was on the bench several times during “Project Restart” in the summer, before a mysterious back injury wiped him out for the remainder of the season.
Ozil was then left out of Arsenal’s 25-man squad for the Premier League and Europa League in the first half of this season. But half of the campaign allows clubs to make changes and the club’s old record has at least a chance to come out of the cold.
Manager Mikel Arteta hasn’t ruled anything out so far. But whatever decision the Gunners boss makes about Ozil’s immediate future, it could displease the rest of the squad.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Ozil’s omission so far this season is a “major factor” in the divisions that have developed in the Arsenal squad during the campaign. A group of senior players from Emirates Stadium are said to be supporting the 2014 World Cup winner.
Ozil signed a three-year contract worth an estimated £ 350,000 a week in 2018. Until Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s new deal earlier this year, he was Arsenal’s top earner and still among the best paid from the Premier League.
That deal is set to expire at the end of this season, which could mean Ozil will leave as a free agent at the end of June. If it becomes clear he won’t return to Arsenal’s squad, however, he could push to leave in January instead and has been heavily linked with Fenerbahce.
MLS club DC United is also rumored to be interested and a move to Washington in January would be the perfect time to prepare for the 2021 season kick-off in March.
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