Mikel Arteta Offers Rebuttal to Arsene Wenger’s Mesut Ozil Claims

Arsenal, Mikel Arteta, Arsene Wenger (Photo credit should read PHILIPP GUELLAND/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal, Mikel Arteta, Arsene Wenger (Photo credit should read PHILIPP GUELLAND/AFP via Getty Images) /

Mesut Ozil, who has just turned 32 years old, has been exiled.

He still holds a special place in the hearts of many, even those who agree with the current stance of him not worthy of playing any part in this Arsenal side. I fall into that category.

It becomes assumed that whoever doesn’t believe Mesut Ozil is deserving of a place in this Arsenal team must despise him. This can’t be further from the truth. He was a special player. A one of a kind virtuoso who could thread a pass through the eye of a needle, even in situations were the needle itself wasn’t visible. However, the key word is was.

The German is not that player anymore, hence why stadium announcers are yet to read out his name.

Our legendary former boss disagrees with this:

"“I feel it is a waste for him. Firstly because he’s in the years where a player of his talent can produce the most. And it’s a waste for the club as well because he’s a super talent, a creative talent that in the final third can create that killer pass.”More from Arsenal News3 standout players from 1-0 victory over Everton3 positives & negatives from Goodison Park victoryArsenal vs PSV preview: Prediction, team news & lineups3 talking points from Arsenal’s victory at Goodison ParkMikel Arteta provides Gabriel Martinelli injury update after Everton win"

Arsene Wenger paid £42m for Ozil when he brought him in from Real Madrid. The adoration the pair had for one another filtered through onto the pitch, where the forward excelled for years on end. Under Wenger, Ozil was at times unplayable.

Again, key word: was.

Having not even stepped foot in the Emirates since his departure, one can forgive Wenger for still harbouring similar feelings towards his once trusted man. His first season in north London helped end a barren nine-year wait for the trophy under his tenure. Of course his fondness for Ozil won’t have dissipated.

Mikel Arteta is now the man in charge, though. What he says goes, and he has every right to.

Wenger’s comments mustn’t be viewed as derogatory of the Spaniard’s decisions, nor should they be perceived as thinly veiled warnings for what is to come.

If anything, they’re just an expression of regret that a player once heralded as world class now doesn’t play outside of London Colney. Perhaps, even, the term “waste” hints to Ozil not leaving for regular football, and Arsenal spending such eye-watering amounts of money on an added face at training.

Arteta’s response was passive. A refined, measured way of neither calling out the player or his former boss. As he’s done throughout his time at the club, his reasons have been laid bare for all to see.

"“I think you have to try to find a way to fit every player with their own qualities. This is our job and this is our responsibility with all the players we have to manage.“Well he wasn’t the only one who’s not in the [Europa League] squad. It was a really difficult decision for me to make because to leave players out of the squad at that level where they know they cannot get involved is really tough.”"

Ozil’s time at Arsenal is up. This much we can be sure of. Another 12 months of anguish from his obsessive fans on social media, questions directed Arteta’s way when Arsenal go a couple or so of matches without creating enough chances, however, are still to come.

Confident in himself and the image he wishes to portray, the Spaniard won’t back down. Having played alongside him, it would be folly to suggest he has no emotional attachment to the situation. In an ideal world, Ozil would still play. Yearning for a creative midfielder, him in his prime would, of course, start every week.

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But it’s a new chapter for all at Arsenal. Arteta is writing it, and no amount of praise from club legends and those from afar will change his mind.