Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta last week shocked the footballing world by omitting Mesut Ozil from his Premier League squad for the first half of the season. The Spaniard explained that his decision was purely on footballing grounds and that the German playmaker and 2014 World Cup winner did not merit a place in the current team. The world reacted differently, with many making attempts to read deeply into the reasons why Ozil could have been frozen out. Below are some of the major reactions on the Ozil issue.
Guillem Balague, football pundit.
I don’t believe that [Ozil has been axed for political reasons]. I think when he has been given the opportunity, he hasn’t taken it, in training I’m sure – , because that’s when you really show your worth – I’m sure he isn’t doing that. Sometimes teams have got one or two players that affect the atmosphere, and it’s best to get rid of it.
Lauren Mayer, Arsenal invincible
Ozil is a top player. If he is not there it’s a consequence of many issues. First of all, it’s the fault of the player. I believe if you have the quality, if you are a top player, if you are not involved week in week out I believe that is your own fault. The fact that with Emery and now with Arteta he hasn’t been consistent it is not the manager. I believe it is more the player than the manager or the club.
Laurent Koscielny, Ex-Arsenal skipper
“As a man, he’s a very good person, who got along with all his teammates. He gave a lot, helped sick children. He is a generous person, with whom I got along very well. As a player, he is in my opinion a phenomenon. He can find passes that no-one sees, he’s a maestro. He can rock a game with incredible passes. We’re both part of the ‘Arsene Wenger Generation’. The coach loved him as a player. It was more complicated with Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta.
Ian Wright, Arsenal legend
It’s a shame. From a professional point of view, I’m gutted for Ozil because for some reason they can’t settle their differences. At the same time, you’ve got to admire the manager sticking to his guns. He’s the one that’s said ‘Listen: This is my decision’.
Jack Wilshere, former Arsenal player and Ozil team mate
Ozil is one of the best players I have played with. All I can do is comment on him as a footballer and I know what he can give, so it does make it difficult to understand, but at the same time, I’m not at the club and I don’t know what’s happened.