The Mesut Ozil saga tends to have a life of its own as hardly a week goes by without another story featuring the World Cup-winning German and his continued absence from the Arsenal team. As we announced in a recent article, Ozil’s absence wasn’t down to a ‘bad back’ but was due to a clash with another player and coach Mikel Arteta.
It has since transpired that Ozil has refused to show unreserved support for the BLM campaign because Arsenal distanced themselves from the player when he publicly supported the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Amnesty.org reported on this issue in December 2019 praising Ozil’s bold stance and commending his involvement in this.
China’s attempts to impose its powerful censorship abroad must be resisted. Ozil has taken an important stand in speaking out in support of those facing brutal persecution in Xinjiang – and his intervention has raised global awareness of one of the gravest human rights crises of our time.
Arsenal are entitled to remain silent, but Ozil’s right to freedom of expression must be preserved.
So, Ozil was cut adrift as Arsenal separated themselves from his comments and subsequent backlash that followed. As a result of not supporting the BLM, Ozil has found himself ostracised from his fellow professionals including Arsenal’s black players. A sizeable rift has developed with one in particular that I’m not allowed to mention for obvious reasons.
In reality, the situation between the two players has become quite toxic with the player in question throwing nuts at him. Not that the player who can’t be named is beyond reproach, because he is known to be involved in late-night drinking sessions before a game which has resulted in his omission from the team.
Mesut Ozil has managed to lose the support of the majority of the first-team squad, some of whom don’t want to get involved in a situation that could lead to them not being included in the first team, others have distanced themselves from the German due to their loyalty to the global movement. It’s a sensitive and emotive issue and one which Sport has played an active role.
The ‘behind the scenes‘ tensions have the potential to undermine Arsenal’s final games and threatens the unity of the squad. Under the circumstances, can Ozil play again this season for Arsenal?
It looks doubtful but, Arteta also needs to put up a smokescreen for a player who has had more than his fair share of negative publicity. It’s also known that Ozil was one of two players that contracted Covid-19 after it was claimed that the club was clear of the virus.
With Ozil, if it’s not one thing, it appears to be another. He is said to have shown reluctance in training and displayed an unwillingness to accept Arteta’s tactics which would see him more of a team player and less of the superstar. None of this indicates a quick return.
Ozil’s contract is up next year and this latest episode may ensure his exit at the first available opportunity. With that in mind, Arsenal are thought to want crunch talks with the player and his agent when the season is concluded.
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess what the next installment of this unsavoury saga is. Having initially felt sorry for the player regarding Arsenal’s treatment of him under Unai Emery, I’m less inclined to leap to his defence on this occasion. Cut him loose and move on!