Arsenal star Bernd Leno has, on Monday, assured that Mesut Ozil remains an important member of the club’s first-team setup.
Out in the cold
Much of the media chatter surrounding ongoings at the Emirates of late has of course centered on former German international Ozil.
This comes with Mikel Arteta having doubled down on his efforts to freeze the former Real Madrid man out of his first-team setup.
Upon Spanish tactician Arteta taking the reins in north London late last year, Ozil’s initial experience actually proved quite positive. The 32-year-old was afforded a consistent string of starts by his new boss, suggesting that he was set to prove central to the plans of Arteta moving forward.
Bizarrely, however, since football’s return on the back of the initial Covid-19 outbreak during the summer, Ozil has not received a single minute of playing time.
Arteta, meanwhile, has made crystal clear that this situation is unlikely to change any time soon, through a pair of high-profile calls.
First, the Arsenal boss opted to omit Ozil from his Europa League squad for the season ahead.
And this was swiftly followed by news that the gifted midfielder had also not been afforded a place in the Gunners’ 25-man Premier League panel.
Arsenal’s Premier League squad in full. As expected, Ozil and Sokratis miss out. pic.twitter.com/Jy0KlxxO0b
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) October 20, 2020
‘Still a part of the team’
Much has since been made of such decisions, with Arsenal’s struggles for creativity of late having seen many point towards Ozil as a potential solution.
Nevertheless, the widespread assumption remains that, with Arteta likely to be handed until at least the end of the campaign to fully prove himself, Ozil’s career in north London is all but over.
As outlined above, though, one of the German’s Arsenal teammates has today moved to provide a different perspective on his situation.
Speaking during an interview with BILD, Bernd Leno, a fellow countryman of the veteran midfielder, suggested that, in spite of Ozil’s lack of game-time, he remains a loyal, contributing member of the Gunners’ squad:
‘Mesut is still a part of the team and trains with us.’
‘He is absolutely professional, both on the pitch and in the dressing room.’
‘Obviously it’s a disappointing situation for him, but Mesut handles it well and is absolutely loyal.’
In other Arsenal-related news to have surfaced on Tuesday evening, meanwhile, it has been revealed that Mitchel Bergkamp has failed to earn a contract at the Emirates.
Bergkamp, son of Gunners legend Dennis, was afforded a trial by Arsenal last month, after being released by long-time club Almere City.
The midfielder was handed the chance to impress as part of Steve Bould’s U23 setup, amid hope of a career renaissance in the English capital.
As confirmed by the reliable Charles Watts, however, such a scenario has since failed to come to fruition, with Bergkamp having not been offered an extension to his stint at Arsenal:
No romantic Bergkamp return at Arsenal.
His son Mitchel won’t be signing, despite spending some time with the U23s last month.https://t.co/K2dmXSOIzg
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) November 17, 2020
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