Arsenal manager Unai Emery reacts. REUTERS-Eddie Keogh-File Photo

Unai Emery claims he “tried to help” Mesut Ozil during his time as Arsenal boss and prevent the unfortunate circumstances that have played out in 2020-21 from happening.

A World Cup-winning playmaker has always been a divisive figure at Emirates Stadium, with questions regularly asked of his contribution and commitment to the collective cause.

That argument has come to a head this season, with Mikel Arteta taking to leaving the 32-year-old out of his Premier League and Europa League squads.

Ozil is now being edged towards the exits, as his lucrative contract runs down, with a move to Fenerbahce – the club he supported as a boy – seemingly on the cards.

If a long-running saga is brought to a close during the current transfer window, then a proven performer at the very highest level will depart English football with his potential unfilled.

Emery says he did all he could to put Ozil on the right path, with the Spaniard reluctant to be drawn on why things have gone so wrong for the former Germany international in north London.

A man who was relieved of his duties at Arsenal in November 2019 told football.london of his experiences with Ozil: “I worked for one-and-a-half years with Mesut and tried to help him, support him and achieve the performances for the team with him.

“Now I don’t know what the problems are as I am very concentrated and focused with Villarreal.


“I follow every Arsenal match but I don’t know what the problems are with the team or the players. I can only speak about Mesut Ozil when I was with him there and I tried to achieve the best performances with him.”

Emery, who refuses to accept that he was a flop in England, has returned to management in his homeland with Villarreal and overseen a reversal in their fortunes.

He believes Arteta can do likewise at Arsenal, with it his opinion that a fellow countryman can deliver a return to Champions League competition for the Gunners despite ongoing struggles for consistency.

Emery added on the ambitions of the last two clubs he has coached: “They are two different teams, of course.

“They’re playing in the same competitions such as the Europa League, trying to achieve the top four and we’re trying to do the same in Spain.

“I think now it’s very difficult for Arsenal because of Liverpool, Manchester United and other teams but I think Arsenal is going to get back in the top four and recover as there’s stability in the club.

“It’s the same here in Villarreal where we are consistent and I like the style we play here, the club also try to be in the top six and also to achieve the top four and it’s a good season for us if we achieve that.

“I am here and I am very happy in Villarreal.”

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