Monday 11 December 2017

Mesut Ozil has 'mentally left Arsenal and downed tools', claims Martin Keown

Mesut Ozil has often cut a forlorn figure this season CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
Mesut Ozil has often cut a forlorn figure this season CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

Charlie Eccleshare

The debate around Mesut Ozil's Arsenal future intensified on Wednesday night as the midfielder was accused of having 'mentally left' the club by former defender Martin Keown.

In a scathing attack, Keown questioned Ozil's professionalism amid rumours that the 28-year-old will leave Arsenal in January or for free when his contract expires next summer.

Ozil has been linked with both Inter Milan and Manchester United, and Keown told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I think he's testing [Arsene] Wenger more than any other player has.

"Suddenly he was injured again, he played nine minutes against West Bromwich Albion on the Monday, so how did he get injured there?

"I think in some departments he's already left. Psychologically, mentally, he's already left the football club. Maybe Wenger is now trying to do the best deal he can to get some compensation for him."

Ozil has played just nine minutes of football since Arsenal's 3-0 win against Bournemouth on Sept 9. He was sidelined for a couple of weeks by a knee injury but returned to face West Brom on Sept 25, before a recurrence of the problem forced him out of Arsenal's next two matches and Germany's World Cup qualifiers this week.

"I think [Wenger] doesn't want that sort of player around the youngsters in the group," Keown continued. "They played exceptionally well at Chelsea, where [Alex] Iwobi did a really manful job – I know he hasn't got the talent of Ozil, of course, but suddenly Arsenal could compete in both departments defensively and attacking-wise. It was probably the best performance I've seen in a couple of years.

"I was really impressed and it seemed like every player was giving their best. [Alexis] Sanchez is different. He loves playing football, just give him a ball and he'll play and that's all he wants to do".

Keown commented that in his view Ozil had effectively "downed tools" and added "he wants to go and it's going to get messy."

Ozil is expected to be available for Arsenal's next match - a trip to Watford on Saturday October 14.

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