Mikel Arteta admitted he has failed to get the best out of Mesut Ozil after the German expressed his anger at being left out of the Gunners’ Premier League squad.
The 32-year-old is the highest-paid player in Arsenal’s history on a reported £350,000 ($450,000) a week but has also been omitted from Arsenal’s Europa League squad, casting doubt he will ever play for the club again.
Ozil has not played a single minute for Arteta’s side since March 7 and is out of contract at the end of the season.
“My job is to get the best out of every player, to contribute to the team performance. Here I feel at the moment, today, that I have failed,” Arteta said at a pre-match press conference ahead of Thursday’s Europa League trip to Rapid Vienna.
“I want the best possible Mesut for the team. In some moments I was able to get close to that, and at the moment I have not been able to do it because I have to make the decision to leave him out of the squad.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Ozil expressed his frustration at being sidelined and suggested he had not been treated fairly.
“Upon signing my new contract in 2018, I pledged my loyalty and allegiance to the club that I love, Arsenal, and it saddens me that this has not been reciprocated,” said Ozil in a statement posted on social media.
“I can promise you that this hard decision won’t change anything in my mindset - I will continue to train as best as I can and wherever possible use my voice against inhumanity and for justice.”
Last December Arsenal distanced themselves from comments Ozil made criticising China’s treatment of the Uighur population in Xinjiang.
The World Cup winner also refused to take a 12.5 percent pay cut in line with the rest of the Arsenal squad when the economic crisis caused by coronavirus hit in April.
However, Arteta insisted that his decision was purely a football one.
“My conscience is very calm because I have been really fair with him. My level of communication with him has been really high and we know what to expect with each other,” added Arteta.
“Obviously a player of that dimension, with the career he has had, everything that happens around him has a big impact.
“It has been the case for the last eight years, it is nothing new that is just happening now. A lot of things have happened over these eight years.”
Earlier this month, Ozil offered to pay the salary of Arsenal’s popular mascot Gunnersaurus after Jerry Quy, who has played the role of the dinosaur since 1993, was let go by the club with stadiums empty during the Covid-19 crisis.