Arsenal legend Ian Wright has praised Mikel Arteta for “sticking to his guns” over his decision to axe Mesut Ozil from the Gunners’ Premier League squad.
The German playmaker was left out of their 25-man group to compete in the league until January, while he was also chopped from their Europa League squad.
Ozil is the highest-paid player in Arsenal’s history and reacted to news of his omission by saying he was “deeply disappointed” to not be included.
And although Wright feels Ozil’s dismay, he has also praised Arteta for having the guts to believe in his decisions.
“It’s a shame,” Wright told Premier League Productions. “From a professional point of view, I’m gutted for Ozil because for some reason they can’t settle their differences.
“At the same time, you’ve got to admire the manager sticking to his guns. He’s the one that’s said ‘Listen: This is my decision’.
“For whatever reason, he doesn’t want to play Mesut. It’s a shame because he’s a quality player. Sometimes it just happens like that. Unfortunately for Mesut as a professional he wants to play football it won’t happen here.
“From what Mikel is trying to do Arsenal fans have to concentrate on now, it’s all about the team and the progression of the team.”
Meanwhile, speaking to ESPN, Ozil’s agent Dr Erkut Sogut recently said: “Arsenal fans deserve an honest explanation, not [Arteta] saying ‘I failed Ozil.’ You didn’t fail Ozil: you failed to be fair, honest and transparent and treat someone with respect who has a contract and was loyal all the time.
“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?
“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 team-mates 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.”