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Mikel Arteta has discussed the uncomfortable situation with Mesut Ozil after leaving him out of his Premier League squad at Arsenal.
Ahead of the Gunners' Europa League group stage opener away to Rapid Wien, Arteta has defended his bold call.
It means Ozil is now ineligible to play for Arsenal in the Premier League or in Europe until at least January.
Asked about Ozil’s statement this afternoon on social media, Arteta said: “Everybody is free to express his feeling.
“That's just a football decision that my conscious is really calm.
“I’ve been really fair with him, my level of communication with him has been really high."
Arteta added further on his Premier League squad, which saw experienced Greek centre-half Sokratis Papastathopoulos excluded too following his failure to secure a move away in the summer transfer window.
He continued: “I am sad that I have to leave three players out of this list which is never pleasant.
“I have to say that I try to look everybody in the eye and be comfortable with it.
“With Mesut I have this feeling because I was being very straightforward since I arrived at this club."
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Asked if a compromise option for Ozil to leave early is being discussed, Arteta said: “No. Obviously a player with that dimension with the career he has had as well as international level, everything around him has a big impact. It has been the case for the last eight years, it's nothing new that is just happening now.
"A lot of things have happened over these eight years. My job is to get the best out of every player to contribute to the team performance. Here I feel at the moment today that I want the best possible Mesut for the team.
"In some moments I was able to get close to that, at the moment I haven't been able to do it because I have to make the decision to leave him out of the squad. This is the reality in football. Anything can happen and I have learned that over the years.
"This is the reality and we have to face it. The best way to face it is to talk things through face to face and in the right way. This is the way I am and the way I am going to keep doing it."
He added: "Honestly I take full responsibility. I have to be the one getting the best out of the players. It's my responsibility. It's nothing relating to any behaviour or, like I read, the paycuts. It's not true.
"It's my decision. If someone has to blame me – and it will happen when we lose football matches – my responsibility. I have to make the decisions to get the best possible squad in order to win football matches and competitions as often as we can.
"In order to do that I try to be fair with him and any other players and defend as much as possible the interests of the football club."
In a statement on Twitter earlier today, Ozil wrote: "This is a difficult message to write to the Arsenal fans that I've not played for over the past few years.
"I'm really deeply disappointed by the fact that I've not been registered for the Premier League season for the time being.
"Upon signing my new 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.
"As I have just found out, loyalty is hard to come by nowadays. I've always tried to remain positive from week to week that there's maybe a chance to get back in the squad soon again. That is why I kept silent so far.
"Before the Coronavirus break I was really happy with the development under our new coach Mikel Arteta – we've been on a positive way and I would say my performances were on a good level. But then things changed, again, and I was not longer allowed to play football for Arsenal."
"What else can I say? London still feels like home, I still have many good friends in his team and I still feel a strong connection with the fans of this club.
"No matter what, I will keep fighting for my chance and not let my eighth season at Arsenal end like this.
"I can promise you that this hard decision won't change anything in my mindset – I will continue to train as best as I can and wherever possible use my voice against inhumanity and for justice.”
- Arsenal FC
- Mesut Ozil
- Mikel Arteta
- Europa League
- Premier League
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