Per Mertesacker is ‘very sorry’ to see what has transpired for former teammate Mesut Ozil at Arsenal and weighed in on how it happened.
Ozil hasn’t played a single minute or featured in any of Arsenal’s matchday squads this season. In fact, the German’s last appearance came in a 1-0 win over West Ham United on March 7 – exactly seven months ago.
It was reported over the summer that the Arsenal board attempted to offload Ozil and, namely, his £350,000-a-week wage bill. Nothing occurred in the end, though.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has since omitted the former Real Madrid midfielder from his Europa League squad, and may do the same with his 25-man Premier League squad.
Now Mertesacker, who played alongside Ozil at both club and international level, has suggested family commitments have caused his compatriot to lose focus.
“A lot has changed away from the field,” the now-Arsenal academy manager told the Klick and Rush podcast.
“He got married, has a family. Perhaps his focus has changed. Nevertheless, he is still happy and happy to play football.
“He’s the only player I’ve played with for three teams – Bremen, Arsenal, and also at the DFB [Germany national team].
“So I’m very sorry that he’s currently in a situation where he’s not really used.”
Arteta has gone on record to state that he would still like to work with Ozil despite leaving him, and Sokratis, out of Arsenal’s Europa League squad.