Having fallen out with Arsene Wenger’s successor Unai Emery, the former Germany international appeared to have resurrected his Gunners career having featured prominently in the early weeks of Mikel Arteta’s tenure.
Indeed, Ozil started the first 10 Premier League games of his former team-mate’s managerial reign, but hasn’t made an appearance in a competitive match since March.
No official reason has been given for the 32-year-old’s continued omission, but ahead of tonight’s Europa League opener against Rapid Vienna, Arteta insisted the decision to exclude Ozil from his official Premier League and European squad list had nothing to do with matters off the field.
He said: ‘My conscious is very calm because I have been very fair with him, my level of communication with him has been very high. 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. It is nothing related to any behaviour or pay cuts. It is not true. It’s my decision.’
Arteta was, in part, responding to Ozil’s emotional statement published on Instagram on Wednesday in which he scolded Arsenal for not reciprocating the loyalty he felt he demonstrated when he signed a long-term contract extension in January 2018.
Ozil appeared at pains to directly criticise Arteta and even praised the direction in which the club are progressing under his stewardship. Indeed, according to the Daily Mail, the former Real Madrid superstar is convinced his exile was prompted by his decision to speak out against the persecution of the Uighur Muslims by the Chinese government last year.
Ozil signed off his passionate Instagram message to Arsenal’s fanbase by promising to do everything within his power to finish his career in north London on a happier note, but pointedly remarked that he would continue to use his platform to speak out against injustice and inhumanity.
He wrote: ‘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.’