Mesut Ozil has been included in Arsenal’s 2020/21 squad picture, despite being left out of the club’s Premier League and Europa League squads by Mikel Arteta. The German is unlikely to play for the Gunners again, with his contract due to expire next summer.
Arteta played alongside Ozil for Arsene Wenger but has followed in the footsteps of former boss Unai Emery, in overlooking the 32-year-old.
Ozil has not featured since last season’s clash with West Ham just before lockdown but he continues to train with the Gunners.
While he may not be getting the minutes he desires, Ozil is still considered part of the squad.
He was part of the team’s official photo which has been posted on the club’s social media channel.
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The players were socially distanced for the image, which features Arteta at the front with the FA Cup and Community Shield.
Ozil is in the background, in the second row from the back next to compatriot Shkodran Mustafi.
He has refused to leave north London quietly, after agreeing to reimburse Arsenal with Gunnersaurus’ full salary for the rest of his time at the club.
Arsenal had initially made Gunnersaurus redundant before Ozil seized the initiative to counteract the Gunners’ PR own goal.
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Goalkeeper Bernd Leno insists Ozil still feels like part of the team, despite his continued exile.
“Mesut is still a part of the team and trains with us,” Leno told BILD.
“He is absolutely professional, both on the pitch and in the dressing room.
“Obviously it’s a disappointing situation for him, but Mesut handles it well and is absolutely loyal.”
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There has been plenty of interest in Ozil, but any deal is likely to hinge on a mutual termination of his contract.
This summer, Arsenal were keen to reach an agreement with Ozil but the player was determined to see out his final year at the club.
Ozil is the club’s highest-earner and nets around £350,000-a-week, a decision that Arsenal have been left to rue in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
Clubs from the Middle East and MLS are keen on signing Ozil, should he be willing to leave Europe when his deal comes to an end on June 30, 2021.
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