The saga is officially over as Mesut Ozil’s Arsenal exit was confirmed on Sunday, a week after he had revealed that he was heading to Turkish team Fenerbahce, and the German playmaker thanked fans in an emotional social media post.
After not playing any first-team football this season, former Germany midfielder Ozil ended a seven-and-a-half year relationship with Arsenal that turned sour under current coach Mikel Arteta. During his time with Arsenal, he made over 250 appearances in all competitions, scoring 44 goals and making 71 assists.
7.5 years. Nearly 3,000 days. It feels strange to be writing this message after such a long time here in London. Since the moment I arrived, it has felt like home. I was welcomed with open arms by all the Arsenal staff, my teammates, and most importantly the incredible fans. I will always be grateful for the trust placed in me by Arsene Wenger in September of 2013. I’ve grown up as an adult in North London, a place I can always call home. I’ll never forget that.
Being with Arsenal for so long has meant I’ve experienced a big mix of ups and downs. Over 250 games, 44 goals and 71 assists later, it’s time that Arsenal and I finally part ways.
Together, we ended the club’s nine-year trophy drought, and brought long needed silverware back to the fans who deserved it.
It is difficult for me to put into words the love I feel for this club and the fans. How could I possibly describe eight years of gratitude in a single letter? Whilst I may be no longer playing for the club, I will continue to support them in every game they play. I will be a Gunner for life - no doubt about that. Now more than ever we must all be behind the team. This season is a tough one for every team in the Premier League, and that is why we must all back the current squad and staff no matter the results.
For me, it’s been amazing to see some of the boys from Hale End coming through into the first team setup. As we all know, they are the future of our club, and I wish them every success!
Hearing my name chanted around the Emirates will forever give me goosebumps, and the memories I’ve made putting on this jersey will stick with me for life. Much has been written about my time at Arsenal, especially in recent months. Arsenal is a club of class and prestige, something that I felt every time I walked onto the pitch. Players, staff and management always come and go — but the club’s values and fans will remain forever.
The principles of class, respect and dignity must never be forgotten. It is the responsibility of every single person from the club to make sure they carry out their job in the name of these values.
As I said, the past few months haven’t been the easiest. Like every player, I want to play every minute of football for my team. In life however, things do not always play out how we expect or want them too. But it is important to look for the positives in life and not the negative, which is why I try to live with no regrets and holding no grudges. Being at Arsenal was more than just football, it was about community. As much as I tried to assist on-the-pitch, I tried to be part of the London community as much as I could too.
North London took me in as one of its own, and every season I embarked on a different project to bring happiness to this incredible community. Although I might be leaving North London, this will not stop.
It might be the end of a chapter, but my connection with this amazing club will never fade. It might be goodbye for now, but it’s not goodbye forever.
To the Arsenal fans around the world: YaGunnersYa
The 32-year-old has not played for the Premier League team since March 2020 and his reported deal on a weekly salary of £350,000 ($475,000) was set to expire at the end of the current season.
Ozil was a key part of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning side but after what he labelled “racist” attacks following the holders’ first-round exit at the 2018 tournament, he ended his international career.
Fenerbahce, one of Istanbul’s three big clubs, are in the running for league title behind Besiktas.
After starting the first 10 games of Mikel Arteta’s reign as Arsenal boss, Ozil had not featured since a 1-0 win over West Ham before the coronavirus pandemic saw football grind to a halt last year. He was omitted from Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads, with Arteta and technical director Edu insisting the decision to do so was down to footballing reasons.
The early years of Ozil’s career at the Emirates after a then-club record £42.5 million move from Real Madrid in 2013 were a success. He played a major role in winning three FA Cups in four years, but became a peripheral figure after Arsene Wenger departed as manager in 2018, just five months after Ozil had signed his bumper three-year deal.
“Mesut’s achievements at Arsenal are undisputed. It was a privilege to play alongside him and, more recently, coach him,” Arteta said.
“His creativity and vision led to many goals during his time in the Arsenal shirt. Mesut was at the heart of many great moments for this club over the years, including those three FA Cup final wins. These successes will always be part of our history. We thank Mesut and wish him all the best with Fenerbahce.”
(With AFP inputs)