Mikel Arteta says Mesut Ozil will always have a “big history” at Arsenal and that his quality will be missed at the club.
The Gunners head coach also said he will give his “clear opinion” on the deal when Ozil completes his expected move to Turkish club Fenerbahce.
Ozil is expected to make the transfer as a free agent once an early termination of his Arsenal contract – which had been due to expire in the summer – is finalised, bringing to an end his eight-year spell in London.
The 32-year-old leaves Arsenal having played a key part in back-to-back FA Cup successes in his first two seasons but he has not played since March 2020 as Arteta has favoured the club’s emerging young players – notably Emile Smith Rowe – in Ozil’s central attacking midfield position.
Ozil was also not registered in Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads this season and has been free to talk to other clubs since the beginning of January with his Gunners deal due to expire in the summer.
Arteta said: “Mesut is in Turkey going through the medical that has to be completed. There is still some paperwork that has to be done but it doesn’t matter – Mesut’s quality will be missed.
“He’s a very special player who has a big history in this football club and if he ends up doing the deal when it happens I will give my clear opinion on that.”
Wenger: Ozil will have enormous hunger to play
Arsene Wenger, who took Ozil to Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013, feels the midfielder will be desperate to play football again and can thrive in a welcoming environment at Fenerbahce.
“I’m sure that he’s frustrated at not having played. His hunger must be absolutely (enormous) to play football again,” Wenger told beIN SPORTS.
“Mesut is a guy who needs a warm environment and I believe he will find that more than anywhere else in Turkey.
“Overall, he can provide the balls that the strikers need to win football games. If they do that well, they have a good chance of winning the league.
“If his basic fitness in training is good, it will only take him three or four games to be at his best.”
Carra: Ozil departure helps huge wage bill
Speaking on Monday Night Football after Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Newcastle in the Premier League, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher believes the Gunners are starting to address their ‘huge’ wage bill with Ozil’s imminent departure.
He said: “I’m not talking about Mesut as a player. We’ve analysed him a lot and he has had some great moments in an Arsenal shirt. I think I said a few weeks ago, Arsenal have got to go through pain with Mikel Arteta and almost come out the other side, and a lot of that I think is the wage bill at the club – it’s huge.
“I was critical of some of the players Arsenal brought in and how it was a problem for the wage bill – David Luiz, Willian, older players.
“I think it will be tough for them to get into the Champions League places in the next couple of years, but as an Arsenal supporter, they’ll like watching the team more when there are younger players in there, rather than watching players who you feel are just there for a few quid. That’s when sometimes there is a feel-good factor and you understand that as a supporter.
“When I’m watching Arsenal now I’ve got a smile on my face, you want these young lads to do well. I think Arsenal supporters watching them will know the next few weeks will not be easy – they’ve got a tough run of fixtures and they’ll probably lose a couple, draw a couple, win a couple, that’s the way Arsenal are at this moment – but I think as an Arsenal supporter it almost feels better when you like what you’re watching and the type of people you’ve got in the team.
“I think that’s how they’ll feel about these young players now and I think Mesut Ozil leaving is almost the start of getting that wage bill under control.”
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