Ozil Was Not Given ‘Fair Opportunity’ At Arsenal, Says Wilshere

file photo of ozil and Wilshere

 

Jack Wilshere believes former Arsenal teammate, Mesut Ozil was not given a fair chance to fight for his place at the North London club.

The German who is set to join Turkish side Fenerbahce after a torrid one year under Mikel Arteta decided with club owners to terminate his £350,000-per-week contract early.

The 32- year- old who had been heralded as the much needed creative spark missing from the Gunners squad became instrumental for the Gunners winning 3- FA Cup titles before falling out of favour.

However, in an interview with Dailymail Bournemouth midfielder Jack Wilshere, who had struck up a partnership with Ozil at Arsenal between 2013 and 2018 which saw them have a combined assist rate of 66, felt the Fernabahce bound star was not given a fair chance at the club this season.

”It’s not nice to be in a position where you’re not given that opportunity – a fair opportunity – to try and challenge for a place in the team” he said.

The Englishman also showed his delight at Ozil securing a  move to the Turkish giants.

”So I’m happy that he has found happiness and hopefully he can go on to be successful in Turkey.”

The Bournemouth number 19 also recounted what it meant for him to play alongside Ozil

”All I remember from him is what a joy it was to play with him. A top, top player. One of the best I played with,” he said.

‘It’s a shame the way it went at Arsenal, but I’m sure a lot of the fans will remember him for his early days there when we had a really good team and we should have probably won a little bit more.’

 

 

Mesut Ozil Confirms Leaving Arsenal For Fenerbahce

Photo: [email protected]_Official

 

Mesut Ozil confirmed on Sunday that he was leaving Arsenal for Turkish team Fenerbahce after being frozen out for months at the Gunners.

“I’m very happy, very excited. God has given me the chance to wear the Fenerbahce shirt. I will wear it with pride and give everything for the team,” Ozil said in an interview with Turkish television channel NTV.

Former Germany forward Ozil said that he would be travelling to Istanbul with his family on Sunday evening, 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 deal on a weekly salary of £350,000 ($475,000) was set to expire at the end of the current season.

However, he claimed in Sunday’s interview that he is “in good physical condition” despite his lengthy period on the sidelines.

Sports daily Fanatik reports that Ozil will sign a three-and-a-half year deal with Fenerbahce worth five million euros a season.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin responding to an earlier post on social media from Ozil of two hearts in Fenerbahce’s colours tweeted: “Safe trip home”.

Ozil, who is of Turkish origin, was heavily criticised in Germany for posing for a photograph with Erdogan in 2018. Erdogan was also the best man at the player’s wedding in Turkey.

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.

Arsenal Have To Apologise To Mesut Ozil – Paul Merson

 

Former Arsenal legend, Paul Merson has stated that his old club has to apologise to Mesut Ozil and get him back into the side if they want to get back to winning ways.

The German playmaker and former world cup winner was left out of the premier league and Europa squad by Mikel Arteta in his bid to revolutionize the club and bring back the glory days.

After last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Mourinho’s Tottenham side, many Arsenal supporters have started questioning the Spaniard’s decisions and tactics overall

In a Daily Star interview, Emerson could not hide his anger and disappointment after the loss to their North London rivals and had this to say.

 

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“Arsenal could still be playing Tottenham NOW and they wouldn’t have scored a goal.”

“What can they do in January to fix it? Go and knock on Mesut Ozil’s door, say you’re sorry and you need him to play,” he added further.

The football pundit was clearly critical of the Gunners’ inability to score and the decision to omit the German midfielder from the squad.

He further summed up the Premier league’s side issue “Arsenal were atrocious against Spurs. They never looked like scoring. Ozil’s getting £350,000-a-week and sitting at home while his team can’t score.”

“But against teams like Spurs or Burnley, he can get on the ball and dictate things and make a few decent chances.”

“They could re-register him in January. They’re missing a trick if they don’t,” he stated as a possible solution to the side’s problems.

Ozil has been embroiled in controversy and posted a poem denouncing the treatment of Uyghurs in China on his Twitter handle. He also criticised Muslim countries for not speaking out about the Xinjiang re-education camps.[Arsenal later released a statement distancing itself from the comments.

Arsenal have lost their last two matches and remain in 15th position. They next play Burnley on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium

 

 

Two Men Arraigned For Threatening To ‘Kill’ Arsenal’s Ozil

Germany’s midfielder Mesut Ozil gestures as he sits on the field during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group F football match between Germany and Mexico at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 17, 2018. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

 

Two men threatened to “kill” Mesut Ozil when they confronted the Arsenal midfielder’s security guards, a London court heard on Tuesday.

The alleged incident happened outside Ozil’s north London home just weeks after the former World Cup winner was targeted by moped attackers while driving in the area.

Security guard Kemil Sezer told the court that he and a colleague had been protecting Ozil, who was inside the house at the time, for several weeks.

Salaman Ekinci and Ferhat Ercun deny behaving in a threatening or abusive manner outside the house.

Assisted by a Turkish interpreter, Sezer told the Magistrates Court he first saw two men on the evening of August 8 last year before they returned around three hours later when it was dark.

Sezer said the men told him: “We’re going to come back in five minutes and if security don’t go from here, we’re going to kill Mesut Ozil and kill you’.

“We started chasing them … we got angry because Mesut Ozil, about two to three weeks prior, was attacked and we feared that the same thing would happen.”

Ozil, who played international football for Germany but is of Turkish heritage, did not appear at the hearing.

Ekinci and Ercun, both 27, were present.

Asked by prosecutor Sarah Gabay how he felt, Sezer said: “Stressed. Mesut Ozil is loved by the Turkish people.

“We have that responsibility on us to protect him.”

The threats came around two weeks after Ozil and Arsenal team-mate Sead Kolasinac were ambushed by moped muggers who tried unsuccessfully to steal their £200,000 watches in an unrelated incident.

Gabay said the pair were detained by the guards, who also had protection dogs, after they returned for a third time shortly after midnight before police were called.

“In an interview, both defendants denied using the language and said there had been no conversation between them and said they had been attacked by the security guards,” she said.

Ozil Removed From PES Game In China After Making Critical Comments

Germany’s midfielder Mesut Ozil gestures as he sits on the field during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group F football match between Germany and Mexico at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 17, 2018. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

 

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has been deleted from Chinese versions of the popular Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) mobile game, the title’s China distributor has said, as the fallout builds over his criticism of the country’s treatment of its Uighur minority.

US-listed Chinese internet company NetEase said it removed Ozil from the game due to his “extreme comment about China.”

Ozil, a German national of Turkish origin, condemned China’s crackdown on Muslim minorities in the western region of Xinjiang in a tweet last Friday and criticised Muslim countries for failing to speak up about the alleged abuses.

Arsenal has distanced itself from his comments, while China said his tweets were “untruthful” and that he was “deceived by fake news”.

Meanwhile, German Bundesliga club FC Cologne pulled out of a football academy in China, citing a re-evaluation of “resources and priorities”.

But senior official Stefan Mueller-Roemer, a former club president and now head of the fan council, told local newspaper Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger that “we don’t need China in sport”, charging that “human rights are massively disrespected” in the country.

China has faced growing international condemnation for setting up a vast network of camps in Xinjiang, where critics say Uighurs are pressured to renounce Islam, support the ruling Communist Party, and integrate with China’s majority Han culture.

Rights groups and experts say more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been incarcerated, part of a long-term government response to tame years of persistent violent unrest against Beijing’s control of Xinjiang.

Ozil had tweeted in Turkish: “Korans are being burnt… Mosques are being shut down… Muslim schools are being banned… Religious scholars are being killed one by one… Brothers are forcefully being sent to camps.”

“The Muslims are silent. Their voice is not heard,” he wrote against a blue backdrop with a white crescent moon — the flag of ‘East Turkestan’, the term many Uighur separatists use for Xinjiang.

Shortly afterward, NetEase announced on its verified Chinese social media accounts that Ozil’s comments had “hurt the feelings of Chinese fans and violated the sport’s spirit of love and peace”.

“We do not understand, accept or forgive this comment,” it said.

Konami, the Japanese developer of the game, declined to comment on the matter when contacted by AFP.

Following Ozil’s comments, Chinese state television dropped plans to broadcast the English Premier League club’s match last Sunday, and discussion of the topic is now heavily censored in China.

China at first denied that the camps existed but later acknowledged them as foreign pressure grew, saying they were vocational training centres.

In a similar episode, China moved in October to punish the NBA’s Houston Rockets after its general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.

Ozil has been praised on Twitter for speaking out, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also weighing this week.

“China’s Communist Party propaganda outlets can censor @MesutOzil1088 and @Arsenal’s games all season long, but the truth will prevail,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter, chastising China for its “gross” rights violations against Uighurs.

Turkey, which shares linguistic and ethnic ties with the Uighurs, has been outspoken on the issue but most Muslim-majority countries have been muted in the face of China’s commercial and diplomatic power.

 

AFP

China ‘Can’t Hide’ Its Human Rights Violations – US Backs Mesut Ozil

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes remarks to members of the media at the press briefing room of the State Department December 11, 2019 in Washington, DC.

 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday denounced China for its heavy-handed actions against Arsenal over footballer Mesut Ozil’s support for incarcerated Uighurs, saying Beijing could not hide reality.

Arsenal distanced itself from Ozil but Beijing dropped state television broadcasts of the English Premier League club’s Sunday match — a move that could have major commercial ramifications in the lucrative Chinese market.

“China’s Communist Party propaganda outlets can censor @MesutOzil1088 and @Arsenal’s games all season long, but the truth will prevail,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter.

“The CCP can’t hide its gross #HumanRights violations perpetrated against Uighurs and other religious faiths from the world,” he said.

The row comes shortly after China moved to punish the NBA’s Houston Rockets after its general manager, Daryl Morey, tweeted his support for Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.

Ozil, a German national of Turkish origin, tweeted that the Muslim world has been silent on the plight of the Uighurs in a message on the flag of “East Turkestan,” which Uighur separatists call the western Chinese region of Xinjiang.

“Korans are being burnt… Mosques are being shut down… Muslim schools are being banned… Religious scholars are being killed one by one… Brothers are forcefully being sent to camps,” Ozil tweeted in Turkish.

China has faced growing international condemnation for setting up a vast network of camps in Xinjiang, which critics say are aimed at homogenizing the Uighur population to reflect China’s majority Han culture.

Rights groups and experts say more than one million Uighurs and people of other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities have been sent to the camps in the tightly controlled region.

Turkey, which shares linguistic and ethnic ties with the Uighurs, has been outspoken on the issue but most Muslim-majority countries have been muted, likely mindful of China’s commercial and diplomatic power.

But a senior US official who recently met with members of Organization of the Islamic Conference voiced hope that Muslim-majority countries would join the United States and Turkey in doing more.

“Every single one of them saw the problem,” the official said on condition of anonymity

 

AFP

Mezut Ozil ‘Deceived By Fake News’, Says China

Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil celebrates after scoring during the International Champions Cup football match between Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain in Singapore. Photo: AFP

 

China accused Mesut Ozil Monday of being “deceived by fake news” and said he should visit Xinjiang to see for himself after the Arsenal footballer decried the treatment of the region’s Uighur minority.

Ozil, a German national of Turkish origin, condemned China’s crackdown on Muslim minorities in the western region in a tweet Friday and criticised Muslim countries for failing to speak up about the alleged abuses.

Arsenal have distanced themselves from his comments, but the English Premier League club’s 3-0 home defeat to Manchester City on Sunday was pulled from Chinese TV by state broadcaster CCTV.

The furore, which has potentially damaging repercussions for Arsenal and the Premier League in the lucrative Chinese market, follows the opprobrium heaped on the NBA in October after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.

“I don’t know if Mr. Ozil has been to Xinjiang himself. But it seems he has been deceived by fake news, and that his judgment was influenced by untruthful remarks,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

“If Mr. Ozil has the opportunity, we will be pleased to see him going to Xinjiang and having a look,” Geng said.

“As long as he has common sense, can make a clear distinction between right and wrong, and upholds the principles of objectivity and fairness, he will see a different Xinjiang.”

Earlier, a Global Times editorial slammed what it called a “clownish performance” from Ozil, 31, describing him as “confused” and “reckless” and saying he had abused his position as a public figure.

“Ozil’s move has ruined his image among Chinese fans and will have serious implications for Arsenal,” warned the state newspaper.

 International condemnation 

China has faced growing international condemnation for setting up a vast network of camps in Xinjiang, which critics say are aimed at homogenising the Uighur population to reflect China’s majority Han culture.

Rights groups and experts say more than one million Uighurs and people of other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities have been sent to the camps in the tightly controlled region.

China calls the facilities “vocational education centres” where “trainees” learn job skills and Mandarin in order to steer them away from extremism after a spate of deadly attacks in Xinjiang, in China’s far west.

“Korans are being burnt… Mosques are being shut down… Muslim schools are being banned… Religious scholars are being killed one by one… Brothers are forcefully being sent to camps,” Ozil tweeted in Turkish.

“The Muslims are silent. Their voice is not heard,” he wrote on a background of a blue field with a white crescent moon — the flag of ‘East Turkestan’, the term many Uighur separatists use for Xinjiang.

Arsenal were swift to post on Weibo, China’s leading social media platform, that the comments were “Ozil’s personal opinion”, adding that the club had a policy of “not involving itself in politics”.

But some Weibo users expressed delight at the team’s heavy defeat to City, which left the London club ninth in the Premier League.

Leading streaming service PPTV also appeared to have cancelled its screening of the match in China.

“I’m an Arsenal fan and today I cheered for City’s victory,” posted one user.

“Manchester City is a good friend of the Chinese people,” added another.

Ozil played only an hour of the City defeat before being substituted.

His slow walk to the touchline before booting away his gloves in frustration drew the wrath of some disgruntled Arsenal fans.

AFP

Ozil Doesn’t Deserve To Play Europa League – Emery

Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Unai Emery gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 1, 2019.
Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Unai Emery said Mesut Ozil did not deserve his place even in a squad packed with youngsters after Arsenal beat Standard Liege in the Europa League.

Ozil, the highest-paid player in the history of the club, was once again left out of the matchday squad as Gabriel Martinelli hit a brace in a 4-0 Group F victory at home on Thursday.

The 18-year-old scored twice in three first-half minutes before laying on Dani Ceballos to score his first goal for the club, Joe Willock having already added the third.

Emery made 10 changes from the side that drew at Manchester United on Monday, with Ozil not making the matchday squad on either occasion.

“I am thinking every time to decide the best players for each match and the best players in the squad to play and to help us,” Emery replied when asked about Ozil’s omission.

“When I decided he shouldn’t be in the squad it’s because I think other players deserved it more.”

The 30-year-old has had a difficult relationship with Emery since the manager’s appointment last year and his absence from the squad will lend weight to speculation that he does not have a long-term future at Arsenal.

On a positive night for the Gunners, Rob Holding, Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin, who captained the side, all came through 90 minutes as they continued their comebacks from injury.

Bellerin battled back from a long lay-off with a serious knee injury to skipper the side on his first start since January and was proud to lead out the team.

“There’s not a better way to come back,” he said.

“I feel very honoured to wear the Arsenal armband and lead the team out. It’s been a tough road for me over the past eight months but I feel very lucky to have had my players, family and friends around me.”

 

AFP

Two Charged Over Attack On Arsenal’s Ozil And Kolasinac

(File) Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil (L) and Arsenal’s German-born Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac (R) attend a training session at the Baku Olympic Stadium in Baku on May 28, 2019, on the eve of the UEFA Europa League final football match between Chelsea and Arsenal. 
OZAN KOSE / AFP

 

Two men will appear in court next month charged with a public order offence, police confirmed on Sunday, in connection with two Arsenal footballers previously targeted in an attack.

Arsenal said Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac would not play in Sunday’s opening English Premier League fixture at Newcastle due to “further security incidents”.

Former Germany midfielder Ozil and the Bosnia defender were targeted last month by masked and armed attackers who chased their car through London.

London’s Metropolitan Police said two men had been arrested in an incident in the north of the city three days ago.

“Two men have been charged under Section 4a of the Public Order Act following an incident in Camden on Thursday,” the police said in a statement.

“Ferhat Ercan, 27, and Salaman Ekinci, 27, were charged on August 9 following the incident and are due to appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on September 6.”

Reports suggested the men were arrested after becoming involved in an altercation with security staff outside Ozil’s house.

Section 4a of the Public Order Act refers to offences of intentional harassment, alarm or distress, through threatening, abusive or insulting words, behaviour or displays.

Arsenal said on Friday that Ozil and Kolasinac would not be in the squad travelling to Newcastle “following further security incidents which are being investigated by the police.

“The welfare of our players and their families is always a top priority and we have taken this decision following discussion with the players and their representatives.

“We are liaising with the police and are providing the players and their families with ongoing support.

“We look forward to welcoming the players back to the squad as soon as possible.”

AFP

Arsenal’s Ozil, Kolasinac To Miss Newcastle Game After Knife Attack

 

Arsenal stars Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac will miss their side’s Premier League opener at Newcastle on Sunday after “further security incidents” involving the pair, the north London club announced.

Ozil and Kolasinac were caught in an attempted car-jacking in the English capital last month, with the defender leaping from the vehicle to confront the knife-wielding raiders while the former Germany international sped off to safety.

A statement from Arsenal on Friday said: “Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac will not be part of the squad for our opening match against Newcastle United following further security incidents which are being investigated by the police.”

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Neither featured in the Emirates Cup pre-season defeat against Lyon just days after the initial incident, with Arsenal manager Unai Emery admitting they had not been in the right frame of mind after the terrifying confrontation.

Ozil’s G-Wagon was blocked by the moped-riding thugs, who then brandished weapons before Kolasinac forced them to back off while locals near his home in the Childs Hill area of the city came to the pair’s aid.

Ozil and his wife found safety at a Turkish restaurant, whose owner Yasmin Tahsimer revealed: “He called me while they were being chased and said ‘come out, call the police please’.

“When they were chasing Ozil’s car they were throwing big bricks at it and using a long metal pole. They damaged the car. The wives were inside and were frightened and scared.”

German midfielder Ozil and Bosnian left-back Kolasinac had both featured in Arsenal’s final friendly at Barcelona and were expected to be in contention to face Newcastle at St James’ Park.

The suggestion of new incidents involving the players will be hugely concerning and the statement added: “The welfare of our players and their families is always a top priority and we have taken this decision following discussion with the players and their representatives.

“We are liaising with the police and are providing the players and their families with ongoing support.

“We look forward to welcoming the players back to the squad as soon as possible.

“We will not be making any further comment on the matter.”

Arsenal are believed to have increased security around the duo following the incident, while World Cup winner Ozil had also hired minders to protect his property.

Kolasinac and Ozil were not the first footballers to be targeted on London’s streets.

In 2016, Andy Carroll, a former West Ham player now at Newcastle, was threatened at gunpoint on his way home from training.

AFP

Arsenal Stars, Ozil And Kolasinac Face ‘Knife-Wielding Car-Jackers’

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: In this file photo taken on July 25, 2018, Arsenal players Mesut Ozil (L) and Sead Kolasinac arrive for a team training session during the International Champions Cup match in Singapore. Arsenal footballers Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil fought off knife-wielding car-jackers in a terrifying ordeal in London captured on video circulated on social media on July 25, 2019. Roslan RAHMAN / AFP

 

Arsenal footballers Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil fought off knife-wielding car-jackers in a terrifying ordeal in London captured on a video circulating Friday on social media.

In the footage, Kolasinac is seen outside the vehicle confronting two masked aggressors, who had pulled up alongside the car on mopeds. Former Germany midfielder Ozil, who was driving, was inside the vehicle.

The incident happened in broad daylight in a plush part of north London on Thursday.

Kolasinac confronted a first aggressor on the passenger side of the vehicle, who appeared to be brandishing a knife at the 26-year-old Bosnia defender, then approached another who came around the back, the footage showed.

The Daily Mail reported that the chase continued for about a mile as they fled to a Turkish restaurant where they are regulars.

“Ozil looked absolutely terrified, as anybody would after being chased by men with knives,” financial worker Azuka Alintah, 36, told MailOnline.

“He looked like he was running for his life. And I suppose he was. I saw him disappear into the restaurant with the motorcycle guys on his tail,” he said.

“They didn’t take off their helmets and were all in black, wearing long sleeved tops in this hot weather. They stood out,” he added.

Thursday was the hottest July day on record in Britain, with temperatures hitting 38.1 degrees Celsius (100.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

‘Bricks thrown’

Yasmin Tahsiner, the joint owner of the Turkish restaurant, told German broadcaster NTV: “They were followed by two people on a motorbike, they tried to break the windscreen and threw bricks at the car.”

Ozil’s newlywed wife Amine Gulse, a former Miss Turkey, was with her husband. The couple married in June with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in attendance.

“Her hands were shaking, but I can’t blame her for that. I would have also been afraid,” said Tahsiner.

“Put yourself in Mrs Ozil’s place: it was the  middle of the day, they were on a London high street and people have been chasing you.”

A spokesman for English Premier League club Arsenal said: “We have been in contact with both players and they are fine.”

The club declined to comment further when contacted on Friday.

Police confirmed that they had responded to reports of an attempted robbery.

“It was reported that suspects on motorbikes had attempted to rob a man who was driving a car,” a spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police told AFP.

“The driver, along with his passenger, managed to get away unharmed and travelled to a restaurant in Golders Green, where they were spoken to by officers.

“There have been no arrests. Enquiries continue.”

Knife crime surge

There has been a sharp increase in knife crime in London in recent years.

Over 5,500 people were injured or killed by knife crime in London in the 12 months to October 2018 — a record level.

The owner of the property outside which the footballers were attacked has said he has been targeted five times in the same area.

The man, who drives high-profile cars and chose not to be named, told Britain’s domestic Press Association news agency that he had a knife held to his neck at midday in one incident.

“It’s about time the police pulled their finger out,” he said.

“The situation has gone too far… it’s out of control.”

Arsenal are due to host French club Lyon in a friendly at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, then travel to Angers in France for another friendly on Wednesday.

The Gunners’ first competitive match of the season is on August 11 at Newcastle.

Arsenal finished fifth in the English Premier League last season, narrowly missing out on a spot in the Champions League.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery is expected to rely more heavily on 30-year-old Ozil this season after midfielder Aaron Ramsey left on a free transfer to Juventus.

AFP

Mesut Ozil Gets Married With Turkish President As Best Man

A handout photo released by the Turkish president’s press office shows Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil (C-L) and his fiance Amine Gulse (L) standing next to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during their wedding ceremony at the Four Seasons Bosphorus Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 7, 2019. TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP

 

Former German international football Mesut Ozil was married in Istanbul on Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his best man.

The 30-year-old Ozil, who has Turkish family roots, sparked controversy last year when he was photographed with Erdogan, raising questions about the footballer’s loyalty to Germany on the eve of their disastrous 2018 World Cup campaign.

The Turkish leader arrived in the early evening for Friday’s ceremony at a luxury hotel on the banks of the Bosphorus to see the former Arsenal midfielder marry his fiancee, former Miss Turkey Amine Gulse.

A smiling Erdogan and his wife Emine were seen standing next to the young couple as their marriage was formalised.

After 92 appearances for Germany, including a key role in the 2014 World Cup victory, Ozil suddenly quit the national squad last July, accusing German football officials of racism.

Ozil announced in March that he had asked Erdogan to be his best man.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff was part of a chorus of criticism of the invitation.

Helge Braun, a CDU told the Bild newspaper then that it “makes one sad” that Ozil would make a such a move despite having already been sharply criticised by the German public over his first meeting with Erdogan.

Ozil has dated Gulse since 2017 and the couple announced their engagement in June 2018.

The footballer, a third-generation German, whipped up a political storm when he was pictured alongside Erdogan last May.

Criticism intensified after the red-faced defending champions crashed out of the first round of the World Cup in Russia.

In the wake of the World Cup fiasco, Ozil announced his resignation from the national squad, saying: “I am German when we win, an immigrant when we lose”.

Erdogan often attends marriages in Turkey of celebrities, whom he particularly seeks out during election campaigns.

His presence at Ozil’s marriage comes ahead of a mayoral election in Istanbul on June 23, required after the original voting in March was annulled following a narrow victory for the main opposition Republican People’s Party.