Southampton vs Arsenal preview – Gunners still without Auba?

Team news and stats ahead of Southampton vs Arsenal in the Premier League on Tuesday; kick-off 8.15pm.

Team news

Southampton will be without first-choice full-backs Ryan Bertrand and Kyle Walker-Peters for Tuesday’s Premier League visit of Arsenal.

Bertrand is serving a one-match ban, while Walker-Peters suffered a minor quadriceps injury in training on Monday.

Nathan Redmond is fit enough for the bench following a groin problem, but the game still comes too early for Oriol Romeu (leg), who could return at the weekend, while Will Smallbone (knee) is a long-term absentee.

It remains to be seen if Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be available for the visitors.

The forward withdrew from the squad which lost at Southampton in the FA Cup on Saturday due to personal reasons and it is unclear when he will be back in contention.

Dani Ceballos should be available following a calf complaint, but a similar injury will most likely keep Pablo Mari on the sidelines.

How to follow



preview image




2:31

A preview of matchweek 20 in the Premier League as Everton face Leicester and Liverpool travel to Tottenham.

Follow Southampton vs Arsenal in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

Pitch to Post Review – All 20 clubs analysed in half-term report

In a bumper Review show, the panel recover from spitting out their coffee on Monday morning to react to the news that Frank Lampard has lost his job as Chelsea manager. Where did it go wrong for Lampard? Did he lack experience? And what would replacement Thomas Tuchel bring?

Jasper Taylor is joined by Roger Clarke, Gerard Brand and Mark McAdam for the latest Pitch to Post review, as we analyse all 20 Premier League clubs in the half-term review.

In possibly the most bizarre Premier League season in history, which has seen eight different leaders, we cover every team from the rise of Ole’s United to the fall of Wilder’s.

To hear more, download the Sky Sports Pitch to Post Review podcast on your provider

Jones Knows’ prediction

These two teams meet for the third time in just over a month, so, theoretically, predicting an outcome should be a doddle, no?

Southampton have edged the two encounters with an aggregate score of 2-1 which does make an argument for them being overpriced as the supposed outsiders for this one at 21/10. But making assumptions like that using just the bare result on such a small sample size is the quickest way to skintsville. With a deeper overall assessment of both sides, a low scoring draw seems the most likely result between two evenly-matched teams.

I’m expecting the influence of a fully-fit Thomas Partey to have a massive impact on Arsenal’s results over the next few months. He gives them a forceful ball-carrying option through the middle and possesses all the tools to be one of the best all-round midfielders in the Premier League – that was on show in the 1-0 win over Manchester United in November. When he’s back at full-throttle, Arsenal have a player to take them up the table.

Thomas Partey is 2/1 to have a shot on target from outside the box
Image:
Thomas Partey is 2/1 to have a shot on target from outside the box

He’s also a player that isn’t afraid of shooting from range, which makes him very interesting in Sky Bet player shot markets. He’s averaging 1.48 shots a game so far in his brief Arsenal career, a figure which is similar to his numbers at Atletico Madrid. He’s 2/1 for a shot on target on Tuesday – a price certainly worth a look.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)

ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Thomas Partey to have a shot on target from outside the box (2/1 with Sky Bet)

Opta stats



preview image




2:49

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s win against Newcastle in the Premier League.
  • Southampton have won one of their last 10 Premier League matches against Arsenal (D4 L5), a 3-2 home win in December 2018.
  • Arsenal are looking to record back-to-back away Premier League wins against Southampton for the first time since winning in March and August 1997 under Arsene Wenger.
  • All seven of Southampton’s wins against Arsenal in the Premier League have been at home, with only Fulham vs Everton (9) winning more games against an opponent with all wins coming at home in the Premier League.
  • Arsenal are looking to win three consecutive away Premier League games for the first time since October 2018, while they last did so without conceding back in May 2013.
  • Southampton have kept six home Premier League clean sheets this season, as many as they did in 2018/19 and 2019/20 combined; the Saints last kept more at St. Mary’s in 2016/17 (8).
  • Following a run of seven league games without a win in November/December, Arsenal have won four of their last five (D1), shipping just one goal in that run.


preview image




3:02

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leicester’s win against Southampton in the Premier League.
  • After a run of scoring in 12 consecutive Premier League games, Southampton have failed to score in four of their last five in the competition. Saints are looking to avoid consecutive Premier League defeats for the first time since their opening two games of this campaign.
  • Arsenal have kept four consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League, last keeping five in a row in the competition back in January 2006.
  • Southampton’s Theo Walcott scored in their 1-1 draw vs Arsenal earlier this season – the only three players to score home and away against the Gunners in a Premier League season having previously played for them in the competition are Kevin Campbell (2000/01), Nicolas Anelka (2002/03 & 2006/07) and Robin van Persie (2012/13).
  • Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice in Arsenal’s last league game against Newcastle, as many as he’d netted in his previous 15 Premier League games. The Gabonese striker has scored more Premier League braces without ever netting a hat-trick in the competition’s history (13).

Let’

Sokratis joins Olympiakos

Former Arsenal defender Sokratis has completed a free transfer to Olympiakos on a contract until the summer of 2023.

Arsenal and Sokratis agreed to end the defender’s contract at the Emirates six months early, before he completed his move to Greece a few days later.

The 32-year-old’s deal was set to expire at Arsenal at the end of the season. Sky in Italy has reported that La Liga clubs Real Betis and Sevilla, as well as Serie A side Genoa, were keen to sign the Greek international.

Image:
Sokratis’ last Arsenal appearance came in their FA Cup final victory over Chelsea in August 2020

He joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in July 2018 and went on to make 69 appearances for the club.

However, along with Mesut Ozil, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta chose not to include Sokratis in his plans this season and left the pair out of Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads.

Ozil, Sokratis and defender Sead Kolasinac have all left the club this month with speculation also surrounding the future of Shkodran Mustafi.

Analysis: What Odegaard will bring to Arsenal



Martin Odegaard




0:30

Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero provides detail surrounding Martin Odegaard’s loan move from Real Madrid to Arsenal.

Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard on loan until the end of the season – but what will the one-time wonderkid bring to the Emirates Stadium and where will he fit into Mikel Arteta’s team?

The Norway international is now 22 but hit the headlines in 2015 when he was signed by Real as a 16-year-old, with comparisons to Lionel Messi being made about his ability.

While his career has not taken off as Messi’s did, his development has taken some encouraging strides forwards in recent seasons and Arteta and Arsenal supporters will be excited to see what he can produce in the Premier League.

Let’

PL predictions: Leeds to thrash struggling Newcastle

Our betting expert Jones Knows is back with some midweek prediction action.

Crystal Palace vs West Ham, Tuesday 6pm

“Don’t listen to him, this muppet gets us wrong every week,” tweeted one Hammers fan on social media.

He has a point.

Is it time to put faith in the improving Hammers?

This muppet took on David Moyes’ side in their last two against Burnley and West Brom and my fingers were well and truly burnt. Are they really capable of a top-eight finish though? If they get there it will be based around being very disciplined at the back. In their last four Premier League games, they’ve shipped just one goal – a metric backed up by expected goals data of just 1.94. It’s Manchester City levels of rearguard action.

Moyes’ men rarely make mistakes or get pulled out of position. The ever-improving Declan Rice leads by example in that regard.

However, Palace will have Wilfried Zaha back for this one, they’ve lost all three matches without him this season. He gives them a crucial out-ball.

That was on show in the corresponding meeting between these two in December that finished 1-1 with Palace perhaps unfortunate not to take maximum points as Sebastian Haller turned into Didier Drogba for a split-second which was enough time to score a one-in-a-million overhead kick.

This one will be nitty. It’ll be gritty. It’s most likely to be a draw.

Muppets never learn do they?

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)

Newcastle vs Leeds, Tuesday 6pm

No matter what Steve Bruce will have you believe, Newcastle have been embarrassing in their last three matches.

Embarrassing.

No goals scored, an average of just nine touches in the opposition box per match and 1.6 shots on target per match. I’m always keen to treat a negative narrative like the one surrounding Newcastle with caution but in this case the toxicity towards their performance levels are fully justified. I’ve never seen a Premier League team so comfortable at 2-0 up than Aston Villa were on Saturday. The lack of endeavour, bite and spark in midfield for the Toon was jaw-dropping.

The end must near for Bruce on Tyneside if things continue in the same vein. The underlying numbers and performance data is now catching up with him. And, the last thing they need right now is a team like Leeds on their doorstep, full of energy, full of forward-thinking players.

And the money has come for a Leeds away win with the 10/11 with Sky Bet offer much shorter than late last week. I’m not one to get too carried away with an odds-on price, but this one is a real tempter.

Admittedly, Leeds were off-colour in a big way in their defeat to Brighton, sinking well below their usual average for shots, sprints and tackles. I’m willing to treat that blip in isolation as the influence of Kalvin Phillips’ direct passing from deep was missing due to his suspension. He’s back for this one and likely to run the show.

Marcelo Bielsa’s boys scored five from a whopping 25 shots on goal in the fixture between these two at Elland Road. It would be a footballing travesty if Bruce gets the better of Bielsa here.

For those that love watching beauty overcoming the beast, this simply needs to be an away win. For football’s sake.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-3 (12/1 with Sky Bet)

ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Leeds to win, over 2.5 goals and Leeds to have 14 or more shots on goal (11/4 with Sky Bet – bet here!)

West Brom vs Manchester City, Tuesday 8pm

An open title race you say? Have you not seen Manchester City play recently? Liverpool’s stumbles have seen even more confidence pile into Pep Guardiola’s men in the betting markets.

They are now as short as 4/11 to win their third title in the last four seasons. It’s theirs to lose.

Since losing to Spurs in November, City have conceded just two goals in 10 games, winning seven of those to nil. West Brom were actually one of the two teams to break through the City barricades in Slaven Bilic’s final game in charge and although Sam Allardyce has given the Baggies at least a glimmer of survival hope, this fixture has a predictable look to it.

“We could play out of our skins, but still lose, so the games against Fulham and Sheffield United will be huge for us,” Allardyce said in his pre-match press conference. Not exactly inspiring is it?

One of the biggest mysteries of this bonkers season is how City’s slick full-back Joao Cancelo has just one assist to his name in the Premier League. He has created 27 chances for his team-mates – the same as James Rodriguez at Everton. That smart build-up play has generated an expected assist figure of 3.45, highlighting the high-quality supply he is producing. To put that into some context, Harry Kane has an expected assist figure of just 1.89 assists this season but has a ludicrously efficient 11 assists to his name.

Cancelo’s influence off the bench in the FA Cup comeback at Cheltenham showcased just what an important player he is for Pep Guardiola right now, setting up Phil Foden for the all-important equaliser.

Unfortunately for punting purposes, the traders at Sky Bet are seemingly well versed with Cancelo’s chance creation powers, pricing him up at just 2/1 to grab an assist. There are bigger prices available in the betting jungle.

He can play a big part in another win without conceding for Manchester City.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-2 (6/1 with Sky Bet)

Southampton vs Arsenal, Tuesday 8pm

These two teams meet for the third time in just over a month, so, theoretically, predicting an outcome should be a doddle, no?

Southampton have edged the two encounters with an aggregate score of 2-1 which does make an argument for them being overpriced as the supposed outsiders for this one at 21/10. But making assumptions like that using just the bare result on such a small sample size is the quickest way to skintsville. With a deeper overall assessment of both sides, a low scoring draw seems the most likely result between two evenly-matched teams.

I’m expecting the influence of a fully-fit Thomas Partey to have a massive impact on Arsenal’s results over the next few months. He gives them a forceful ball-carrying option through the middle and possesses all the tools to be one of the best all-round midfielders in the Premier League – that was on show in the 1-0 win over Manchester United in November. When he’s back at full-throttle, Arsenal have a player to take them up the table.

Thomas Partey is 2/1 to have a shot on target from outside the box
Image:
Thomas Partey is 2/1 to have a shot on target from outside the box

He’s also a player that isn’t afraid of shooting from range, which makes him very interesting in Sky Bet player shot markets. He’s averaging 1.48 shots a game so far in his brief Arsenal career, a figure which is similar to his numbers at Atletico Madrid. He’s 2/1 for a shot on target on Tuesday – a price certainly worth a look.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)

ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Thomas Partey to have a shot on target from outside the box (2/1 with Sky Bet)

Burnley vs Aston Villa, Wednesday 6pm

If you’re going to get a result at Burnley, your two centre-backs need to stand strong. And, in Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa, Villa have two excellent defenders that relish a battle and defend their box with great authority. They’ve been part of a back four that has registered nine clean sheets this term. If those two maintain their performance levels for this encounter, Villa should carry more than enough attacking threat to make the 11/10 on an away win with Sky Bet a winning price.

In the reverse fixture Burnley somehow got out of Villa Park with a 0-0 draw despite Villa registering 27 shots on their goal – the second-highest shot count posted by one team in a game this season. Dean Smith’s side attack with such confidence, trickery and ruthlessness that it’s really difficult to see how Burnley will keep a clean sheet. One goal should do it.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1 (6/1 with Sky Bet)

Chelsea vs Wolves, Wednesday 6pm

Wolves can’t catch a break. This fixture will have looked a lot more appealing to Nuno Espirito Santo on Monday morning than it does now. Instead of travelling to a confidence-drained, stuttering Chelsea side that looked under-motivated with Frank Lampard in charge, it’s now a completely different scenario. Chelsea, you’d assume, will now be fully charged to impress their new boss Thomas Tuchel.

Timo Werner could hardly trap or pass the ball properly against Luton. Wolves will get to see the probable transformation into Diego Maradona up close on Wednesday night.

A change of boss in the dugout is always a difficult one to analyse from a betting view in the immediate aftermath. Tuchel is famed for his aggressive and tactically astute style but working on assumptions without using evidence is not a path to profit. I’ll be sitting back and watching with interest to see what Tuchel does with an undoubtedly richly talented, yet out of form, squad of players.

What we do know is that Wolves are in toothless mood in the final third. Recording just one shot on target against Chorley from the sixth tier of the English football pyramid in the FA Cup took pragmatic football to another level. A Chelsea win to nil makes sense, but it’s predicted with absolutely no confidence whatsoever.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)

Brighton vs Fulham, Wednesday 7.30pm

Even my eyebrows were raised reading our alternative Premier League table according to Opta’s Expected Goals model on Monday morning. Brighton are the kings of underperforming in accordance to their performance data but it was striking to see them sitting in fifth place in that xG table. As our stats man Matt Cheetham pointed out, based on how many times they have created significantly better chances than their opponents, Graham Potter might have been expected to have double their current points total.

Yet, they remain just five points above the drop zone and still they don’t pass the test with the eye to suggest they are in a false position despite the staggering metrics. In both boxes Potter’s team are flaky. A win for Fulham here would open up the dog-fight at the bottom, however, they have a touch of the Potters themselves. Scott Parker plays an easy-on-the-eye style but creating clear chances remains a problem – as does their ability to concede at crucial times in matches.

This clash looks a classic case of both teams taking a point, something that has occurred 14 times in matches involving these two this season, including in the reverse fixture at Craven Cottage.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)

Manchester United vs Sheffield United, Wednesday 8pm

I’m keen to get Sheffield United on my side for this one. Chris Wilder has found a formula that is generating progressive football once again – it’s a shame it’s come 10 games too late.

Trusting the Blades in the match result market looks too risky though as terrible finishing and defending their box properly will surely hold them back at Old Trafford. You can get 10/11 with Sky Bet on Wilder’s boys with a +2 goal head start on the handicap, meaning you’ll cop a return if they win, draw or lose by one goal. That makes perfect sense in what is likely to be a tougher assignment than many foresee for this Manchester United side.

However, I’m happy to invest in the shots market for this one. With the Blades now full of confidence again, their attacking patterns involving their wide players and midfield are flowing. This is yielding good territory and efforts at goal. In their last four games they have registered 67 shots at goal, averaging 16.75 per 90 minutes. Yes, two of those were against lower-league opposition in the FA Cup but they managed 16 in their clash with Tottenham.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side play in a progressive style that leaves them open to attacks on their goal, as showcased by facing 229 shots against this season – the seventh highest in the Premier League. They are happy to leave the back door open.

Depending on your style of punting, Sheffield United to have nine or more shots (5/6 with Sky Bet), 10 or more (11/8) or – for the brave souls – 13 or more (11/2) is an angle to get involved with.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1 (13/2 with Sky Bet)

ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Sheffield United to have nine or more shots (5/6 with Sky Bet)

Everton vs Leicester, Wednesday 8pm

A game to get excited about this one.

Leicester were excellent in their 2-0 win over Chelsea but had Frank Lampard to thank for that. His arrogant decision to set out his team to dominate possession, allowing Leicester to find space on the counter-attack, showed huge tactical naivety.

Carlo Ancelotti is too shrewd to fall into that trap.

As he’s done in recent weeks – and in the 2-0 win at Leicester – he will set up to play compact with no space in behind. Everton will allow Leicester to dominate the ball and look to take advantage of any set-piece situations – it’s an area they excel at and may prove the difference in this one.

Carlo Ancelotti
Image:
Carlo Ancelotti masterclass on the cards?

Only Chelsea have scored more goals from set-pieces than Everton this season, including the second goal in that win at the King Power and they scored twice from corners in their FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday. Leicester have shipped 10 goals from set-pieces, too, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina and Michael Keane are all huge threats. Home win.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)

Tottenham vs Liverpool, Thursday 8pm

Whenever Liverpool trade at odds-against in a Premier League match, my eyes light up.

Yes, four Premier League games without a goal does sound the alarm bells that perhaps we’ve seen the peak of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool tenure and it’s downhill from here. That is easily argued though, especially when looking at Liverpool’s attacking metrics in their four-game goalless run. Klopp’s men have lacked fluidity in the final third, granted, but the most important factor is that they’re still getting into the areas that have made them such a force. Amazingly, they’ve registered 72 shots in those four games – only Manchester City have had more – and posted an expected goals figure of 5.72. All that is missing is the final finish. I’d be stunned if the goalless run continues in this one.

Even in defence, Liverpool aren’t allowing many chances to the opposition. In that four-game run they’ve only faced 29 shots on their goal, just two more than Manchester City.

That equates to me that despite their alarming drop-off in results, the metrics bring forward the argument that fine margins aren’t falling their way. If they stick to the process, then it’s bound to turn. A price for an away win, which would normally be trading at 8/11, can be snapped up at 6/5. It’s hard to ignore.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-2 (7/1 with Sky Bet)

Let’

Arsenal agree Odegaard loan deal

Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard on loan until the end of the season.

Odegaard will undergo a medical in the next 48 hours before completing his temporary move to north London.

The 22-year-old made it clear he wanted to leave this month in order to play regular first-team football, having played just nine times in all competitions for Real Madrid this season.

Real Sociedad were keen on re-signing Odegaard after his season-long loan stint last year, but it is thought Real Madrid’s preference was to send him to a club outside La Liga.

Odegaard registered seven goals and nine assists across 36 appearances on loan at the La Liga side last season, leading Real Madrid to cut short his two-year loan and make him part of their first-team squad.

A number of Premier League clubs were also interested in the Norwegian, including Leicester, although the Foxes opted not to pursue the Norwegian international after preliminary discussions.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 24: New transfer of Fenerbahce, Mesut Ozil (C) attends a training session of his team at Samandira Can Bartu facilities in Istanbul, Turkey on January 24, 2021. (Photo by Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Image:
Mesut Ozil trained with his new Fenerbahce team-mates on Sunday after his free transfer from Arsenal was confirmed

The agreement was reached on the same day Mesut Ozil’s departure from the club was confirmed, as the 32-year-old terminated his deal at the Emirates Stadium to join Fenerbahce on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

Odegaard is set to become Arsenal’s second signing of the January window, after the club secured the services of Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan on a six-month loan deal.

Mikel Arteta’s side also saw Sokratis Papasthatopoulos leave the club after mutually agreeing to cancel his contract, while Sead Kolasinac and William Saliba have respectively joined Schalke 04 and Nice on loan deals until the end of the season.

What will one-time wonderkid Odegaard bring to the Premier League?

Sky Sports’ Peter Smith:

What will Odegaard bring to the Premier League? Well, hype, hope and a lot of media attention for starters.

The attention of the footballing world was centred on him in 2015 when, a month after his 16th birthday, Real Madrid won the race for his signature – and the interest in the now 22-year-old is set to ignite again.

Already a Norway international when he joined Real, Odegaard – who had drawn excitable comparisons with Lionel Messi – immediately began training with the first team and became the club’s youngest-ever player in the final game of that season.

MArtin Odegaard
Image:
Odegaard signed for Real Madrid as a 16-year-old in 2015

Back then, the anticipation of what Odegaard would become at the Bernabeu knew no bounds – but his progress, perhaps disappointingly for some, has been quieter since, as the gradual progression of a midfield technician has taken shape.

Patience is paying off now, though. After an underwhelming 18-month loan spell at Heerenveen, Odegaard had a standout season at Vitesse in 2018/19, creating more chances than any other player in the Dutch top flight, and finishing third in the assists chart to Dusan Tadic and Hakim Ziyech.

He backed it up with an impressive season at Real Sociedad last year, when he hit double figures for goal contributions, and was recalled to Real Madrid as a result.

While a way into Zinedine Zidane’s line-up has ultimately been hard to find, Arsenal have landed a classy creator, a pass-master and an attacking midfielder with a fine touch and bright awareness of the game.

Odegaard will bring excitement on the pitch as well as off it.

Read the feature in full

Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

The winter transfer window is open until Monday, February 1 at 11pm.

Follow all the news and analysis on Sky Sports News and across Sky Sports‘ digital platforms, including our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.

Let’

‘I’m a Gunner for life’ – Ozil completes Fenerbahce move

Mesut Ozil has thanked Arsenal for an “amazing journey” after his departure to Fenerbahce was confirmed, saying he goes with no grudges despite not playing for nearly a year.

The 32-year-old, who said goodbye to his Arsenal team-mates before flying into Turkey last Sunday, has officially signed a three-and-a-half-year contract at Fenerbahce and trained with his new team-mates on Sunday.

Ozil has received a £4.5m sign-on fee and will earn around £60,000 a week from the club – a pay cut from his £350,000-per-week deal at Arsenal – although his wages will be boosted by sponsors and endorsements.

Despite not playing for Arsenal since a 1-0 win over West Ham in March 2020 and being omitted from the club’s Premier League squad, Ozil took to social media to bid farewell to his former side and only had words of gratitude.

“I’d like to thank the club for this amazing journey over the past seven-and-a-half years,” he said on Twitter in a long heart-felt letter to Arsenal fans.

“The support I have felt from the team and fans during my time here has been truly incredible and something I will always be grateful for,” he added to the club’s official website.

Transfer Talk podcast: Download & subscribe on iTunes | Or listen on Spreaker

“Together we won trophies for the first time in years and created memories that will last a lifetime. The Arsenal fans will forever remain in my heart.

“I’d like to thank Edu Gaspar for helping bring about a professional and dignified solution in the past few days, and I wish everyone at the club the best in their attempt to continue to bring Arsenal back to the top, where we belong.”

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 24: New transfer of Fenerbahce, Mesut Ozil (C) attends a training session of his team at Samandira Can Bartu facilities in Istanbul, Turkey on January 24, 2021. (Photo by Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Image:
Mesut Ozil trained with his Fenerbahce team-mates on Sunday after completing his transfer from Arsenal

Writing on Instagram, Ozil was more emotional, saying: “I will always be grateful for the trust placed in me by Arsene Wenger in September 2013. I’ve grown up as an adult in North London, a place I’ll always call home. I’ll never forget that.

“It’s difficult for me to put into words the love I feel for this club and the fans. How could I possibly describe eight years of gratitude in a single letter? I will be a Gunner for life – no doubt about that.”



Mikel Arteta




1:05

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says the club are ‘looking at options’ in this January transfer window

Fenerbahce president Ali Koc requested fans to send goodwill text messages, each of them worth around £2, to financially support the club.

Over 160,000 messages have already been sent – earning the club over £300,000 – and the campaign will continue until Ozil is formally unveiled on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Koc, who urged the fans to “break a record”, said: “Maybe 300,000, 500,000 or maybe even a million text messages come together. This support will do us very good”.

Having started the first 10 games under Mikel Arteta following his appointment in December 2019, Ozil has not featured since the 1-0 win over West Ham before the coronavirus pandemic saw football grind to a halt.

He was omitted from Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads, with Arteta and technical director Edu insisting the decision was down to footballing reasons.

“As I said, the past few months haven’t been the easiest,” Ozil added. “Like every player, I want to play every minute of football for my team. In life, however, things don’t always play out how we want or expect them to.



Mikel Arteta and Mesut Ozil




0:44

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said before the deal was confirmed that he was letting Mesut Ozil leave the club because he wants to ‘take the team in a different direction’

“But it is important to look for the positives in life and not negatives, which is why I try to live life with no regrets and holding no grudges. Being at Arsenal was more than just football, it was about community.”

Ozil was criticised in some quarters when he refused to take a pay cut during the summer, with no football being played and Arsenal looking to balance the books.

But boss Arteta said he would be remembered for playing in three of the four FA Cup finals Arsenal won during his time at the club.

“Mesut’s achievements at Arsenal are undisputed,” said Arteta. “It was a privilege to play alongside him and, more recently, coach him.

“His creativity and vision led to many goals during his time in the Arsenal shirt. Mesut was at the heart of many great moments for this club over the years, including those three FA Cup final wins.

“These successes will always be part of our history. We thank Mesut and wish him all the best with Fenerbahce.”

Ozil leaves conflicted Arsenal legacy

It started with a grin and a cocked eyebrow from Arsene Wenger.

It was September 2013 and in the wake of a 1-0 win over Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium, the Frenchman was asked by Sky Sports’ Patrick Davison about Arsenal’s plans for the final days of the transfer window. “Maybe we’ll have a good surprise for you,” he said.

Arsenal v Manchester City - Premier League - Emirates Stadium
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil before the Premier League match at The Emirates Stadium, London.

Arsenal’s summer recruitment at that point amounted to two free transfers. One to re-sign Mathieu Flamini from AC Milan, the other to bring in Yaya Sanogo, a promising but injury-prone striker from Auxerre. Supporters were underwhelmed and agitated.

They wanted more and 48 hours later they got it, Wenger’s “good surprise” materialising in the form of a sensational £42.5m deal for Real Madrid’s Mesut Ozil. It ranked as the third most expensive signing in British football history and nearly trebled Arsenal’s record outlay in the transfer market.

Read more here

Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

The winter transfer window is open until Monday, February 1 at 11pm.

Follow all the news and analysis on Sky Sports News and across Sky Sports‘ digital platforms, including our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.

Let’