Mesut Özil has had a whirlwind of 12 months. The highest paid player in Arsenal history has had a troubled period on and off the pitch.
From being a victim of daylight carjacking to criticizing the Chinese treatment of Islamic Uyghurs and falling out of favor with former Gunners boss Unai Emery, Ozil is now a girl’s father during a global pandemic.
Özil became Arsenal’s best earner in January 2018 after agreeing a new three-year contract worth £ 350,000 a week until the summer of 2021.
Mesut Ozil has had a whirlwind of 12 months – with a troubled period on and off the pitch
On the field, Ozil fell out of favor with former Gunners boss Unai Emery earlier this season
The deal came back to bite Emery, who was fired in November for demanding an intensity level from his players that Ozil didn’t offer.
This season, he played just 18 of the 28 Premier League games, a total of 1,449 minutes of first-team football.
Emery had said his sketchy appearance record was due to excuses ranging from injuries to tactical reasons before admitting he didn’t believe the German deserved a place in the squad after leaving him for a third game in a row in October.
Ozil broke his silence to discuss his turbulent start to the campaign and said, “If we don’t do well in a big game, it’s always my fault. If that’s true, how do you explain our results in the big games if I wasn’t involved? There is no real difference.
“I know people expect me to offer more, dictate play and make a difference. Me too, but it’s not easy.
“I’m not the only player on the team and don’t forget that some of our opponents are just better than us.”
In July, Ozil and his Arsenal teammate Sead Kolasinac (above) were carjacked
However, there were some mitigating circumstances for his exclusion. In the summer, Özil and teammate Sead Kolasinac were ambushed by attackers on mopeds in northwest London.
The Arsenal star was attacked by the robbers while driving his black Mercedes G-Class through Childs Hill on July 25.
During the event, Ozil and Kolasinac left the Arsenal squad to meet Newcastle after ‘further security incidents’.
Özil returned to the squad for the Carabao Cup clash against Liverpool at Anfield. He made 34 passes, 94.4 percent of which was accurate. Likewise, his 23 forward passes saw a 88.5 percent success rate, but of all these two passes alone, statisticians identified Opta as a ‘key’ as they led to a scoring opportunity.
The former Germany international continued to join the team after the appointment of Mikel Arteta on December 20, but Arsenal has not yet offered him a contract extension, despite the fact that his current deal will expire next summer.
Özil has returned to the team after the appointment of Mikel Arteta in December
Considering this season, Özil’s relationship with Arsenal fans was a bit turbulent, and that came to light when the German midfielder was booed by the crowd in December for angry shouting at Alexandre Lacazette in the aftermath of Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Brighton.
Özil continued the boy’s bad behavior as he kicked his gloves along the sidelines and expressed his frustration for being replaced in Arsenal’s 3-0 home loss to Manchester City on December 15.
The German was succeeded after 59 minutes by interim manager Freddie Ljungberg, with his replacement Emile Smith-Rowe.
Özil showed his frustration by kicking the sidelines with his gloves in December
Criticism came not only from his attitude on the field, but also from his political involvement outside it.
In June, the 31-year-old midfielder married his fiancé, former Miss Turkey, Amine Gulse in a luxury hotel in Istanbul with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his best man.
Özil had announced prior to the wedding that he had asked Mr. Erdogan to be his witness, but was criticized by his native country for the decision.
The Turkish President is a very controversial figure and still has poor relations with Germany.
Criticism came not only from the attitude on the field, but also from his political involvement – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (center, right) was a guest at Özil’s wedding
Özil also spoke out about the treatment of Uighur Muslims in the Chinese region of Xinjiang
A demonstration in Istanbul in support of Uighur Muslims sees an Ozil poster waving
Özil’s involvement with him has left the midfielder feeling “disrespected and unprotected” in Germany and becoming the target of racist abuse.
Özil was involved in more controversy after criticizing the Chinese treatment of ethnic Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang.
China – which had become the Premier League’s most lucrative overseas broadcast market – canceled live coverage of Arsenal’s game against Manchester City as part of the furious response to his comments.
The midfielder was also removed from the 2020 version of Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) in China.
Amid political controversy and a disturbing season, Ozil and his wife welcomed their daughter, Eda, into the world earlier this week.
Özil and Gulse – who are currently incarcerated as part of the coronavirus crisis – were delighted that their daughter had been “born healthy.” What have it been 12 months.
Arsenal’s Ozil (right) shared a photo with wife Amine Gulse (left) and their daughter Eda