Mesut Ozil appears to have taken shots at Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta in the wake of the Gunners’ defeat to Tottenham in the north London derby on Sunday. Ozil has not played once for the club this season having been left out of their 25-man Premier League and Europa League squads.
Ozil has not played for Arsenal since the coronavirus pandemic struck, facing West Ham back in March but only making the match-day squad twice since then.
Post-restart, the German was eventually completely frozen out of Mikel Arteta’s plans and appears unlikely to ever play for the Gunners again.
In the absence of the 30-year-old playmaker, Arsenal have lost six of 11 Premier League matches this term, including the 2-0 loss at Spurs on Sunday.
That leaves the Londoners 14th having scored just 10 goals in 11 games and have created just 10 big chances this season, per Opta, 13 less than Spurs.
A small section of Arsenal fans have begun to doubt Arteta’s credentials as manager amid the team’s current struggles at both ends of the pitch.
While Watford striker Troy Deener said on talkSPORT: “For me, and I’ll go out on a limb here, if they lose [to Burnley] he is massively under pressure. I’d be surprised, if they lose and the ones around them win, and they are looking more backwards than upwards, he would be under pressure to keep his job.”
And Ozil appeared to aim a jab at his manager via social media on Monday afternoon, posting on Twitter: “The feeling of having fans behind you… #grateful #bestfans #hardtimes.”
The post was accompanied by a picture of Ozil at the Emirates last season with Arsenal fans behind him in the stands cheering him on.
Speaking on Sky Sports after Arsenal lost to Spurs, former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp named Ozil as a big loss to Arteta’s goal-shy side.
“Ozil’s not even in the 25, but he’s that one player who can spot a pass,” he said.
“[Dani] Ceballos as well. I get the pros and the cons with Ozil but I think Arsenal fans would rather be in the position with him playing than not.”
Manchester United legend Gary Neville, providing co-commentary for the match, however added: “I’m not as clear on that one – in terms of bringing Ozil back – I have to say.
“After watching him for three or four years here, he looked disinterested to me. He had talent, and he definitely had a pass in him, certainly in the final third, his weight of pass was fantastic.”
Arteta has the option to reintegrate Ozil into his side after the January transfer window but is seen as unlikely to do so.
The £350,000-a-week attacking midfielder is also unlikely to find a new club in the winter market with it expected he will see out the final six months of his lucrative contract at Arsenal instead.
The World Cup winner will then be free to find a new club in the summer of 2021, though he will have to accept a hefty pay cut from his current salary.
Speaking about Ozil’s situation recently, Arsenal boss Arteta said: “I’m hurt because I don’t like any player in my squad not to have the possibility to participate, or to compete, for me it is really sad because I don’t think anybody deserves that.
“But at the end of the day I’m sitting here to make decisions, to make the decisions that, in my opinion, are the best for the football club. And this is what I have to do.
“The moment that you lose football matches his name is going to come up and when you win, it won’t.
“Well everybody can and I think since I arrived here you see where some players have started and where they are right now, their careers are completely changed and they have earned that right. We gave them the opportunities and they took them.
“With Mesut at the moment, with the squad list, obviously he cannot be involved.
“I try to be as clear as possible with him and with all the media and fans because they deserve to know the reasons why and some people will understand and other people won’t understand it because of what he’s done for the club.”