Football

Mesut Ozil confirms he is leaving Arsenal for Fenerbahce

Mesut Ozil, who is of Turkish descent, hasn’t played for Arsenal this season after falling out of favor with manager Mikel Arteta over concerns about the player’s work rate.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Former Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil will look to reignite his career in Turkey after confirming on Sunday that he is leaving Arsenal to join Fenerbahce.

Ozil, who is of Turkish descent, hasn’t played for Arsenal this season after falling out of favor with manager Mikel Arteta over concerns about the player’s work rate.

“I am very excited. I’ve said I’m a Fenerbahce fan. I am very happy to be coming to Fenerbahce," Ozil said in a telephone interview with Turkish broadcaster BBO Sports. "God has granted me the chance to wear the Fenerbahce uniform as a Fenerbahce fan. I will do my best for the team.”

The 32-year-old Ozil wasn’t even included in Arsenal’s Premier League squad for the season and has been ostentatiously tweeting his support for the team from his home during matches.

After 7½ years at the London club, which he joined from Real Madrid, Ozil is heading to one of the favored clubs of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Welcome to your home, your country dear @MesutOzil1088," Erdogan spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tweeted.

Ozil posed for photos with Erdogan in May 2018 in the run-up to the Turkish general election — prompting serious criticism from German soccer officials and antagonising some in Germany who felt the player wasn’t fully behind the national team — while the president was the best man at Ozil’s wedding ceremony.

Ozil’s last match for Arsenal was in March, a week before soccer was suspended at the outbreak of the coronavirus, so he might not be match-sharp to start immediately for Fenerbahce.

Fenerbahce won the last of its 19 Turkish league titles in 2014. The team has not been in the Champions League group stage since a match-fixing scandal broke in 2011.

Fenerbahce informed Turkey’s Borsa Istanbul index in a statement that it was in talks for the transfer of Ozil, whose Arsenal contract expires at the end of the season.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 9:58:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/mesut-ozil-confirms-he-is-leaving-arsenal-for-fenerbahce/article33595658.ece

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