Mesut Ozil: What went wrong for him and why is he leaving Arsenal?

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From contract standoffs to Twitter rows and everything in between, Mesut Ozil and Arsenal needed to go their separate ways. 

The playmaker finally sealed his emancipation when his contract was terminated and he now heads to Fenerbahce to revive his career. 

Ozil last featured for the Gunners in March 2020, with Mikel Arteta declining to include him in his Premier League and Europa League squads at all this season. 

Under Unai Emery, he was left out of a number of big games because he couldn't be relied upon to press. 

However, his situation deteriorated beyond repair under Arteta. 

Where did it all go wrong? 

The Independent have delved into some of the reasons behind Ozil's demise and it's clear that off-field tensions had been boiling over for two or three years. 

All the way back in 2018, Arsene Wenger was said to have regretted giving him a new contract of £350,000 a week, which made him the highest-paid player at the club. But Alexis Sanchez was about to leave, and they felt they had no choice but to tie him down. 

There have also been persistent tensions with his entourage, which includes agent Erkut Sogut and his brother Mutlu. The report claims Arsenal sources said that Ozil's "camp are always trying to make a stand". 

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Not everyone at the Emirates had a problem with him, of course. Yet while youngsters admired him, senior players questioned his work ethic, even in training. 

In December 2019, his relationship with his employers hit a new low. He tweeted about the political issue of China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims. Chinese broadcasters subsequently refused to show Arsenal games and the club lost revenue. Arsenal considered fining him, but recanted.

They did, however, distance themselves from his views, which the player himself was upset by given how strongly he felt about the issue.  

So how did his career rumble on until March? The final straw - which roughly coincided with his final appearance (March 2020) - was his refusal to take a 12.5 per cent pay cut during lockdown, despite pleas to the players from Arteta. 

The manager saw it as a lack of commitment to the collective cause. Ozil was not motivated by greed. The idea was to save jobs, but jobs weren't saved anyway - and 55 members of staff were made redundant. Ozil was then said to have revelled in being proven right about his decision not to have his wages reduced. 

Nearly a year on, and that's how we got here. What has not been cleared up is the legacy he leaves behind, which will divide and conflict fans for a long time to come. 

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