Mesut Özil has left the club to join Turkish side Fenerbahçe, following the club’s decision to waiver any transfer fee.
This is a significant move from both Arsenal and Özil, with Özil looking distinctly unlikely to leave the club before his contract ran out in the summer.
While the club have agreed to terminate his contract (something they also did with Henrikh Mkhitaryan), the main obstacle to overcome was the loyalty bonus that Özil was due, thought to be around £7m with the club, Özil and his agent agreeing to forgo the loyalty bonus and allow him to leave.
This season has been a frustrating affair for both club and player. Özil was not registered in either the Premier League squad or the Europa League squad, leaving the German playmaker to essentially just train with the first-team while the season rumbled on.
Though no reason has ever been revealed as to why Özil was so unceremoniously dropped from the team by Mikel Arteta, it is thought that the World Cup winner’s refusal to take a 12.5% payout in line with the rest of the squad during the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is a contributing factor, with Özil unwilling to forgo any of his reported £350,000-a-week wages without any guarantees from the club.
Özil signed his latest Arsenal contract under the eyes of Arsène Wenger in January 2018, singing a three-and-a-half year deal. The wages proved to be a sticking point for Arsenal fans, who though they wished to see Özil remain at the club, especially after losing Alexis Sánchez, felt that Özil’s overall contribution was not high enough to merit such a high wage packet.
When Wenger left the club, Özil struggled to establish himself under Unai Emery, with Emery and Özil frequently clashing over his playtime. Özil was often dropped from the team and was very rarely picked in away games, especially against top six opposition.
When Emery was sacked last in November of 2019, it seemed as though a fully restored Özil would be exactly what the doctor ordered, however, he clashed once more with interim head-coach Freddie Ljungberg, who was forced to remind Özil of his responsibilities when he reacted badly to being substituted against Manchester City.
Arsenal have been looking to ease the strain on their already bloated wage bill and have been looking to shift out some players as part of a much needed rebuild for a while now and Özil has been at the very top of the list of players that the club have wanted to be shot of for a while now.
Özil joins Turkish side Fenerbahçe, a team he has deep held respect for and who have been interested in taking the player for a while now, with Özil previously stating that he would like to play for the club at some point.
Though Özil leaves under a shroud of controversy and with a very bad taste int he mouth for both club and player, few will ever forget the moments of brilliance he produced when on the field, the fact that he was omnipresent for Arsenal’s resurgence in the FA Cup or that thousands of fans nearly trampled a Sky Sports News reporter when his £42.5m transfer from Real Madrid was announced.