Mikel Arteta has reiterated that he is “hurt” by what has happened to Mesut Ozil at Arsenal, admitting nobody deserves to be in such a situation.
Ozil is one of the longest-serving players in Arsenal’s squad. He has been a key player for them ever since joining from Real Madrid in 2013.
However, over the last few years, his output has begun to drop. His last appearance for Arsenal was back in March; he finished last season with less than 20 league appearances for the first time since his teenage years.
Arsenal then made the decision to leave Ozil out of their squad lists for the Premier League and Europa League this season. That means he cannot play until January at the earliest.
While Ozil has not been quite the same player in recent years, it was still a surprising decision. For example, the club have removed the possibility of getting something in return from his high wages on the pitch.
Arteta has previously admitted that he tried for a different outcome, and the Gunners boss has now elaborated on how much he is disappointed not to have Ozil available.
“I’m hurt because I don’t like any player in my squad not to have the possibility to participate or to compete,” he told beIN Sports. “For me it is really sad because I don’t think anybody deserves that.
“With Mesut at the moment, with the squad list, obviously he cannot be involved. I try to be as clear as possible with him and with the fans and all the media because they deserve to know the reasons why and some people will understand and other people won’t understand it.
“The moment that you lose football matches his name is going to come up and when you don’t, it won’t.
“At the end of the day I’m sitting here to make decisions, to make the decisions that, in my opinion, are the best for the football club. And this is what I have to do.”
‘Everybody can find their way back into the team’
However, Arteta did not close the door to Ozil returning to the fold in the future. The midfielder’s contract expires at the end of the season, but his Arsenal career may not yet be over.
Arteta pointed out that other players have worked their way back into contention during his time in charge. With that in mind, he suggested that Ozil could do the same.
He added: “Well everybody can [find their way back into the team] and I think since I arrived here you see where some players have started and where they are right now, their careers are completely changed and they have earnt that right.
“We gave them the opportunities and they took them.”