Mesut Ozil on Sunday confirmed that after being frozen out for months at the Gunners, he was leaving Arsenal for the Turkish team Fenerbahce.
“I am very pleased, very happy. God gave me the opportunity
to wear a Fenerbahce jersey.
In an interview with the Turkish TV channel NTV, Ozil said, “I’m
going to wear it with pride and give everything to the team.”
Ozil said that on Sunday night he would travel to Istanbul with his family, bringing to an end a seven-and-a-half-year relationship with Arsenal that turned sour under current coach Mikel Arteta.
The 32-year-old has not played for the Premier League team since March 2020 and his reported contract on a weekly salary of £350,000 ($475,000) was due to expire at the end of the current season.
However, he said in Sunday’s interview that he is “in good physical condition” considering his lengthy time on the sidelines.
Sports newspaper Fanatik reports that Ozil will sign a three-and-a-half-year contract worth five million euros per season with Fenerbahce.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tweeted: “Safe trip home,” referring to an earlier post on Ozil of Two Hearts’ social media in Fenerbahce’s colors.
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 currently second in the league behind Besiktas.
After starting the first 10 games of Mikel Arteta’s reign as Arsenal boss, Ozil has 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.
In December 2019, Arsenal also distanced themselves from comments Ozil made on social media criticising China’s treatment of the Uighur population.
The early years of Ozil’s career at the Emirates after a £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.