There’s no pleasure to be gained from Mesut Ozil’s current snub from his employer. Notice that I don’t reference Arsenal as his club because Ozil hasn’t played in his midfield role for over seven months. The combustible relationship between the pair has deteriorated to such a degree that this is purely a matter between an employee and their employer.
Unfortunately, football isn’t subject to the same rules that govern a normal workplace because it’s a situation where the employer can justify their selection or non-selection on merit. This decision is assumed, to be honest, and subjective, with the employee entitled to receive their agreed wage whether they play or not.
No rules have been broken here, but the circumstances are devastatingly sad for both. Arsenal, a club considered to be classy by its fan base, have acted abysmally towards the German. In turn, the midfield playmaker has purposefully and continuously embarked on a course that has frequently led to confrontation due to the player’s actions or comments.
No player has to suppress their own beliefs, values, or ideals, but this is one example where the employee expressly went against the wishes of the employer and cost the business money, and generated unwelcome publicity in the process.
In most normal businesses, an employee would have to adopt the company’s position or standpoint without question and you’d expect the same of a highly paid sportsman who is employed to play football, not give opinions, political or otherwise. Crusades are fine when there aren’t commercial ramifications and those opinions or beliefs can be best served after a career has ended.
I agree with Ozil that the plight of Uyghur Muslims in China is no less worthy of note than the BLM movement, but he is not in a position to offer an opinion when it impacts Arsenal. His comments on social media regarding selection and availability seriously harmed his selected by his manager because they are seen as a direct challenge to the club’s authority,
Arteta is no longer in a position to work with the player because for every positive step going forward, there are more in the opposite direction and at the same time, the player refuses to concede his position. This is not about the German’s ability, it’s not about his quality or Ozil as a footballer, this is a complicated, embarrassing, public mess that has spilled out into the public domain.
Thank goodness, it will end soon, but both parties are still keen to win the public relations’ battle, with Arteta admitting his failure to bring out the best in Ozil and Ozil trying to express his disappointment at his exclusion from the squad in his final year at Arsenal. The German tweeted:
“I love Arsenal but it saddens me that it has not been reciprocated.”
“Loyalty is hard to come by”
He went on:
“Before the Coronavirus break, I was really happy with the development under the new coach Mikel Artetabut then things changed again and I was no longer allowed to play football for Arsenal.”
This dreadful divorce continues to limp on regardless and in the coming years, Ozil will drop the bomb on his last 18 months at Arsenal under Emery and Arteta. No doubt any forthcoming book will be explosive, commanding a substantial publishing fee, but then again, making money has never been Ozil’s problem has it?