Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says he feels he has “failed” with midfielder Mesut Ozil after leaving him out of his 25-man Premier League squad.
The 32-year-old, who joined Arsenal for a then club record £42.4m in 2013, has not played for the club since 7 March.
“My conscience is very calm because I have been really fair,” said Arteta.
“What I can say from my side is that it is just a football decision. My level of communication with him has been really high and we know what to expect with each other.
“Obviously a player of that dimension, with the career he has had, everything that happens around him has a big impact. It has been the case for the last eight years, it is nothing new that is just happening now. A lot of things have happened over these eight years.
“My job is to get the best out of every player, to contribute to the team performance.
“Here I feel at the moment, today, that I have failed. I want the best possible Mesut for the team. And in some moments I was able to get close to that, and at the moment I have not been able to do it because I have to make the decision to leave him out of the squad.”
Earlier, in a message to Arsenal fans, Ozil said “loyalty is hard to come by nowadays”.
“I’m really deeply disappointed by the fact that I have not been registered for the Premier League season for the time being,” Ozil wrote on social media.
“Upon signing my new contract in 2018, I pledged my loyalty and allegiance to the club that I love, Arsenal, and it saddens me that this has not been reciprocated.
“I’ve always tried to remain positive from week to week that there’s maybe a chance to get back in the squad soon again. That’s why I kept silent so far.”
Since joining from Real Madrid seven years ago, Ozil has scored 44 goals in 254 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners.
He fell out of favor under previous manager Unai Emery before returning to the side under interim boss Freddie Ljungberg.
After Arteta’s appointment in December 2019, Ozil started all 10 of Arsenal’s Premier League games immediately before the coronavirus pandemic forced a three-month suspension of the top-flight in March.
Earlier in October, he offered to pay the salary of Jerry Quy, the man who plays the role of club mascot Gunnersaurus, who was one of 55 redundancies at the club.
“Before the coronavirus break I was really happy with my development under our new coach Mikel Arteta – we’ve been on a positive way and I would say my performances were on a really good level,” Ozil added.
“But then things changed, again, and I was no longer allowed to play football for Arsenal. No matter what, I will keep fighting for my chance and not let my eighth season at Arsenal end like this.
“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.”
The transfer window opens in less than 10 weeks. The only question is who will Ozil be playing for in January.