Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta did not include Mesut Ozil in the Europa League or Premier League squad selection despite the playmaker having 12 months left on his contract.
Ozil’s agent has reacted to the situation by slamming Arteta and the club for their treatment of the 32-year-old.
Sogut believes that his client should have the right to ‘fight for his place’ in the team but that he has been denied that option.
“Every single person outside knows he hasn’t treated him fairly. He didn’t give him a chance to show himself this season. If he is still under contract, the player should have the option to stay and fight for his place. Mesut hasn’t been given that. Why would you put a player on the bench twice for 90 minutes [against Brighton and Crystal Palace in June] if he wasn’t fit or committed?” Sogut said.
“Everyone says he’s training well. Per Mertesacker [Arsenal defender, 2011-18 and now a coach at the club’s academy] said this publicly. I spoke with at least five teammates who say he is training great. They say Mesut is one of their best players, and they cannot understand why he is left out. So it can’t be the training. If it is not the pitch, what are the footballing reasons? If you talk, you should tell the truth that the Arsenal fans deserve, otherwise don’t talk at all.”
Sogut does not believe Ozil has been left out of the squad solely for footballing reasons.
Ozil sparked controversy after condemning the treatment of the Uighur community in Xinjiang, China.
CNN reports that possible millions of Uighurs have been forced into ‘heavily fortified internment centers’.
Arsenal, who have commercial interests in China, including owning a chain of restaurants, released a statement distancing themselves from Ozil’s Instagram post, adding, “Arsenal have always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics.”
Additionally, in April, Ozil did not accept an initial 12.5% pay cut.
“You have to understand the bigger picture,” Sogut said. “The [Uighur situation] created problems for the whole Premier League, not just Arsenal. He expected to get more support from the club. It is not talking about politics, it is about human rights, putting people in detention centres. Imagine a football player comes out and says, ‘This is inhumane.’ Is that politics or empathy?”
Sogut also openly criticised Arteta for not showing Ozil the respect that the club showed him in his final years at the North London outfit.
“He started zero games in the Premier League in his last season,” Sogut said of Arteta. “He wasn’t there in the last six months at all, busy doing his coaching badges and meeting coaches for his future. Mesut plays for one English team and that’s it because he feels he can only play for that team. He is a Gunner in the end.
“Mesut is not a player who is yesterday a Toffee and today a Gunner. Arteta didn’t play at all in the final two years, but they still registered him because he was given a contract. [Then-manager] Arsene Wenger put him on the field for the final two minutes of his last game just to give him a nice moment, even though he wasn’t fit for months. Look at how [Arteta] was treated in his final two years, and how Mesut is getting treated in his final year.”
Sogut also underlined that Ozil still wants to play for Arsenal and hopes that the club will reverse their decision and register the playmaker in January when they can resubmit the team list.
“Maybe [Arsenal’s] goal was to wait until the end and Mesut would say, ‘I want to leave,'” Sogut said.
“If Mesut would have done that, the club can say he wants to go, and if they can’t find him a club, they have an excuse and can say, ‘We can’t register you because you wanted to leave.’ But they knew for a long time that Mesut wanted to stay. He made it very clear. Maybe they wanted him to feel unwanted and unwelcome, but he wants to play for the badge.
“Mesut is 32 years old. He has a few more years in his career, but it is more about the way of treatment. Mesut is someone who fights for his rights. The contract was a big commitment for him. He could have left for another club like Alexis Sanchez [who left Arsenal to join Manchester United in 2018] did. He could have left [Arsenal] and got a £30 million signing-on fee [somewhere else] as a free agent at the peak of his career. But he stayed loyal.
“Maybe the club will change their position in January and register him. You never know what will happen.”