Mesut Ozil has struck a deal to join Fenerbahce and will leave Arsenal this month after the Gunners agreed to cover his substantial salary until his contract expires this summer.
The attacking midfielder has barely played in the past two seasons, with Mikel Arteta leaving him out of his 25-man squad in the Premier League this season.
90 mins understands that Ozil has finally made a pre-contract deal with Fener. However, rather than wait until June to join his teammates, he will join this month instead, after the Gunners agreed to pay his salary while he spends the remainder of the season on loan at Istanbul.
Ozil made it clear to Arsenal that he did not leave the club earlier unless they agree to honor his current contract – and that is something they have now accepted.
The former Real Madrid player has indicated he is in favor of a move to Turkey some time ago, with both Galatasary and Istanbul Basaksehir interested. He was also linked with DC United earlier this week, but Ozil turned them down as he doesn’t want to stop playing in Europe, although he would be open to an MLS change in the future.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who is a close friend – played his part in making the Fener deal a reality. Erdogan said the government would be willing to help the movement because he believes Ozil will help boost the country’s prestige.
A source familiar with the situation being told 90min: “Mesut’s plan was always to come to Turkey and Istanbul. Erdogan ideally wanted him to join Basaksehir, his club, but he made sure to leave the decision to Mesut – as he is just thrilled to be able to welcome him to Turkey.
“DC United insisted, but Mesut told them it was not the right time for him to quit European football.”