Mesut Ozil pins Arsenal exile on club's links to China

Mesut Ozil believes his Arsenal exile is due to the club’s commercial interests in China after controversial Instagram post last year saw Gunners dropped for a game by their state broadcaster

  • Mesut Ozil was omitted from Arsenal’s Premier League squad on Wednesday
  • Midfielder is convinced decision was influenced by Arsenal’s links to China 
  • Ozil condemned China’s alleged mistreatment of Uighur Muslims last year
  • The infamous post had damaging commercial consequences for Arsenal

Mesut Ozil is convinced Arsenal’s commercial interests in China influenced the club’s decision to omit him from their Premier League and Europa League squads.

The former Germany midfielder launched a scathing attack on his employers yesterday in which he accused Arsenal of disloyalty, before pointedly adding that he will continue to use his global profile to fight against inhumanity.

Ozil’s inflammatory statement is understood to have been a reference to his infamous Instagram post last December in which he condemned China’s alleged mistreatment of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province, which despite being quickly disowned by Arsenal still had damaging commercial consequences for the club. 

Mesut Ozil accused Arsenal of disloyalty after he was left out of their Premier League squad

The midfielder has fallen out of favour since Mikel Arteta took over the reins last year

China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, responded by dropping coverage of Arsenal’s Premier League game against Manchester City the following day, while Ozil’s comments were condemned by the Chinese foreign ministry and the Chinese FA.

He was removed from Chinese editions of the Pro Evolution Soccer video game and his profile was erased from the social media platform Weibo, on which he had four million followers.

Arsenal retain a significant commercial presence in China, where the club own a restaurant chain and have an official lottery partner and vehicle provider, which has strengthened Ozil’s conviction that he has been singled out.

Ozil appeared at pains to avoid criticising coach Mikel Arteta, but was scathing towards the club. 

Ozil is convinced Arsenal’s commercial interests in China influenced the decision to omit him

Ozil condemned China’s alleged mistreatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province last year

An Ozil poster wasa brandished at a demonstration in Istanbul in support of Uighur Muslims

‘Upon signing my contract in 2018, I pledged my loyalty and allegiance to the club that I love, Arsenal, and it saddens me that this has not been reciprocated,’ Ozil said. ‘As I have just found out, loyalty is hard to come by nowadays. I can promise you that this hard decision won’t change anything in my mindset.’

The £42m signing started Arteta’s first 10 Premier League matches in charge last season, but has not played since May 7 and will now train with the Under 23s after being omitted from Arsenal’s first-team squads. ‘I will continue to train as best as I can and wherever possible use my voice against inhumanity and for justice,’ he added.

Arteta said: ‘What I can say from my side is that it is a football decision. My conscience is very calm because I have been really fair with him.

‘I have to be the one getting the best out of the players. It is my responsibility. It is nothing related to any behaviour or, like I read, the pay cuts.

‘It’s my decision. If someone has to (be blamed) blame me. Here I feel at the moment that I have failed.’  

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