As one of the most creative players of his generation, the career of Mesut Özil has been an odd thing to watch. The German burst onto the scene prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, playing a role in a young Germany team that blew away many of their opponents. It was only a late fall in the competition that saw the unofficial team of the tournament fall away. Chief among the bright new German talents was Özil, who was soon on his way to Real Madrid to play under Jose Mourinho.
Though perhaps an odd-fit on paper, Mourinho turned Özil into a hard (enough) working midfielder who became the creative fulcrum in one of the best counter-attacking sides of recent times. Mourinho turned Özil into a genuine superstar, only moving on when Arsenal signed him in 2013 after things went sour in Madrid. He arrived as a major part of the ‘new’ era for the Gunners, where Arsene Wenger signed genuine first-class, global talents once again. However, it would be fair to say things have not always worked out. In a recent Q&A session, though, Özil made clear that he had no regrets about joining Arsenal.
Speaking to a fact on his Twitter-based Q&A session, Özil was asked if he regretted the move to London, he said: “I’ve never regretted my decision to join Arsenal. And to be honest the last couple of games before the corona break in February and March 2020 made really a lot of fun.”
Despite being seen as a player who has been a symbol of the post-Wenger decline, Özil has never made clear anything other than his affection for the club.
Why has Özil faded in an Arsenal shirt?
His first two seasons in London were fine, with his first in particular exciting Gunners fans to no end. However, things soon began to fade for Özil when Arsene Wenger moved on in 2018. This was at a key junction in his Arsenal career; despite picking up FA Cups in his time in London, other teams were intrigued. His contract was in a precarious position, and Arsenal had to act; would they sign up Özil to a long-term deal, or commit the funds to teammates Alexis Sanchez?
Özil was the one picked, and since then things have gone poorly. Seen as too anaemic for post-Wenger coach Unai Emery, he barely played under the Spaniard. The hiring of Mikel Arteta provided a brief window to play to his best abilities, but after the COVID-19 resumption, there was little opportunity for the German. Since then, he has been all-but frozen out.
While many speculate that business decisions ply a role in the ostracization of the player as much as anything else, it is clear that things are over for the German in an Arsenal shirt. He is expected to sign for either a team in America via the MLS, or sign for his long-supported team in Turkey, Fenerbahce.