Soccer

Mesut Ozil transfer: ‘Gunner for life’ shares farewell message to Arsenal as he moves to Fenerbahce

Mesut Ozil has completed his move to Fenerbahce with Arsenal closing in on Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard as a loan replacement. Ozil had travelled to Turkey a week ago having said his goodbyes to teammates at Arsenal but quarantine protocols in Istanbul prevented the formal completion of a move that will see the 32-year-old join his boyhood club. That has now been reached after the completion of his medical earlier Sunday.

Meanwhile Odegaard is expected to travel to London to complete his loan move to the Gunners from Real Madrid with talks having progressed quickly over recent days. The intervention of manager Mikel Arteta helped to swing the move in Arsenal’s favor and the Norwegian is set to undergo his medical over the coming days before the deal, which does not include an option to buy, is finalised.

He will be in competition with Emile Smith Rowe for the central attacking midfield role in Arteta’s side, though such is his versatility he could also play wide on the right or deeper in midfield. His best position is one that was invariably populated by Ozil until he fell out of favor in recent years.

World Cup winner Ozil has had his contract with the Gunners terminated though it remains unclear how much of the $10.5 million remaining on his contract has been paid up by Arsenal to facilitate a move to the Turkish side. Ozil leaves north London having played a part in four FA Cup wins — though he was not present for the win over Chelsea in the 2020 final — and with a record of 44 goals and 71 assists in 254 appearances.

In a message posted on social media and titled #TheAssist, Ozil said: “Being with Arsenal for so long has meant I’ve experienced a big mix of ups and downs. Over 250 games, 44 goals and 71 assists later, it’s time that Arsenal and I finally part ways.

“Together, we ended the club’s nine-year trophy drought, and brought long needed silverware back to the fans who deserved it. It is difficult for me to put into words the love I feel for this club and the fans… I will be a Gunner for life – no doubt about that.”

His statement included with what appears to be a backing for Arteta and his squad despite the Arsenal manager having frozen him out of the Premier League squad in the final season of his spell in north London. “Now more than ever we must all be behind the team. This season is a tough one for every team in the Premier League, and this is why we must all back the current squad and staff no matter the results.”

Ozil’s warm words were echoed by the Arsenal hierarchy, with Arteta saying: “Mesut’s achievements at Arsenal are undisputed. 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.”

Technical director Edu added: “We would like to thank Mesut and his team for their professionalism during our recent negotiations. I know everyone associated with Arsenal will join me in wishing Mesut and his family the best of health, success and happiness in the next chapter of his career.”



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