Mesut Ozil’s agent Dr Erkut Sogut spoke exclusively to Mirror Football about the midfielder’s time at Arsenal and his future at Fenerbahce after being frozen out in Turkey
Image: Fenerbahce.org/AFP via Getty Ima)
Mesut Ozil left Arsenal under a cloud in January 2021, ending an eight-year spell in north London in which he won three FA Cups.
Mikel Arteta could find nowhere in his side for the World Cup winner, and banished him from both his Premier League and Europa League squads, effectively forcing Ozil’s hand to leave.
Ozil joined the team he supported as a boy, Turkish giants Fenerbahce, and severed his ties with Arsenal six months early despite previously insisting he would see out the entirety of his Emirates contract. He also took a £ 290,000-a-week pay cut in the process.
A year on and Ozil is back in a similar predicament at Fenerbahce, where an argument with boss Ismail Kartal, and question marks over his fitness, have once again seen him frozen out of a squad.
Ozil’s agent Dr Erkut Sogut, in an exclusive interview with Mirror Football, has reflected on the shock both he and his client felt upon learning Arteta could not find a place for the German in his team.
“I just ask for fair treatment like with any other player,” said Dr Sogut. “But to not be in the squad at all, that was a couple of days before the window was closing and it was too late for us to react anyway.
“Maybe three days, four days before when I was told he might not be in the squad at all, he might not be listed. So that was a surprise. First for the Europa League and then for the Premier League as well, that was not expected by us at all.
“The coach did not want him in the squad and the player has to accept that, what can you do?”
Ozil was contracted at Arsenal until the summer of 2021 and planned to see out his time in north London, despite the problems going on behind the scenes.
He’d hoped that Gunners boss Arteta may reconsider his stance after his decision to omit Ozil from his squads in the first half of the season when the January transfer window came along.
But Arteta stuck to his guns, forcing Ozil to look for a move elsewhere.
“He always said he wanted to stay until the end of his contract, but when he realized it wouldn’t change he didn’t see any reason just to sit and not be in the squad at all,” added Dr Sogut.
“It’s not easy for any player and he realized as well: ‘Look, I need to move on now, even though I’d love to stay here. I won’t play for the rest of the season, at all, so when that was clear there was no reason to stay there for five months.
“It was better to go somewhere he wanted to go to anyway, to adapt and use the time. It was Covid time and difficult to go over anyway, so we kind of used the time, the five months, to come back to football. “
Ozil’s impromptu exit meant he did not get the send-off he deserved at Arsenal for eight years of service, but Dr Sogut insists the midfielder holds no hard feelings towards his former teammate and is still very much a Gunners fan.
He said: “They played together, they were friends together on the pitch, they shared a lot already, and then he became his coach. It was no longer a ‘you’re my friend’ relationship. And it does not matter where you play as a football player you have to respect the coach fully, and that is what he did.He respected every decision the coach took, and as a person, there was no problem at all.
“He spent most of his career at Arsenal and it was a special time coming and winning immediately the FA Cup, after such a long time Arsenal won a cup again, and the fans were really hoping for a player like him to come and bring some brilliance on the pitch.
“He came at a moment and really things changed in a positive direction. Especially in the first couple of years, I think it was great and he enjoyed it a lot. I mean, he owes the fans a lot he even says they created a song for him. He did not have that anywhere else.
“He always said ‘I’m a Gunner in and out’ and if there was a discussion to go to another Premier League club, even after two or three years when he was at Arsenal, before the contract negotiations to get a new one, it would have never, ever happened. It was impossible for him. He was like ‘Look, if you’re a Gunner, you can not go to play for another Premier League club. You play here and that’s it. And I think the same will happen in Turkey, he won’t play for another club in Turkey. “
Ozil’s fresh start in Turkey started on a high with the midfielder netting on his debut in a 1-0 win over Adana Demirspor. He then scored three in consecutive games in December before an argument with his boss saw his career stall once again.
Ozil was frozen out of the Fenerbahce squad in March, playing his final game of the season for the club in a 2-1 win over Konyaspor. At 33 there are question marks over what’s next for the German, but Dr Sogut is adamant he’ll be back in the team next season.
“We all expect it. This is what we are hoping for and what we will see,” said Dr Sogut. “[There’s] no chance of any movement, he still has two years on his contract and he will stay there. “
On the argument with his boss, he added: “There was a discussion between certain players and the coach, but I do not know the exact details. But it is something that happens all the time. It is not very unusual that sometimes coaches and players have different opinions. “
Ozil is yet to address his future beyond the next two years in the press, with his focus on seeing out his contract at Fenerbahce. Beyond that, Dr Sogut expects the midfielder to remain in Turkey and perhaps take up a role with the club.
“I think he wants to retire his career in Turkey, he always wanted it. I can imagine he’ll still do something at Fenerbahce or something in Turkey,” said Dr Sogut. He is settled there with the family, he loves living there and is enjoying it as well.
“I can not see right now him going to another country from there. Before the move to Fenerbahce, it could have been done but not anymore I guess. But you never know in football.”
* Dr. Erkut Sogut’s latest thriller DEADLINE is now available to purchase.