Fenerbahce beckons as Ozil set to leave Gunners

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Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil is set to leave the English Premier League after seven years with the North London club. AFP

Mesut Ozil’s seven-year stay at Arsenal is set to end after reports on January 16 claimed the former Germany attacker and the Gunners have reached a mutual consent to release him from his contract, which was set to expire at the end of the current season.

The 32-year-old had been expected to leave in the January transfer window with Turkish giants Fenerbahce the favourites to sign him on a free transfer.

The Athletic reported Ozil is set to travel to Istanbul this weekend to complete his move to Fenerbahce.

Since the coronavirus pandemic saw football grind to a halt, he was omitted from Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads, with Arteta and technical director Edu insisting the decision to do so was down to footballing reasons.

However, a few other factors have been linked to the decision to freeze Ozil out.

Despite being the club’s highest earner with a reported £350,000-a-week deal, he rejected a pay cut in April when the majority of the squad and backroom staff agreed to reduce their salaries by 12.5 per cent.

In December 2019, Arsenal also distanced themselves from comments Ozil made on social media criticising China’s treatment of the Uighur population.

The early years of Ozil’s career at the Emirates after his move from Real Madrid in 2013 were a success. He played a major role in winning three FA Cups in four years.

But, he became a peripheral figure after Arsene Wenger departed as manager in 2018, just five months after signing his bumper three-year deal.