Mikel Arteta has insisted he has been ‘fair’ with Mesut Ozil after freezing Arsenal’s top earner out of the first team fold.
Ozil was left out of the Gunners’ 25-man Premier League and Europa League squads – a decision the German midfielder admitted he was ‘deeply disappointed’ by.
The 32-year-old added that ‘loyalty was hard to come by’, while his agent Dr Erkut Sogut heavily criticised Arteta, claiming the Arsenal boss ‘failed’ his client.
Arteta has admitted to his shortcomings regarding the Ozil situation – with the playmaker currently pocketing £350,000-per-week in north London to not even sit in the stands – but the Arsenal manager insists he gave the player plenty of opportunities at the club prior to his exclusion.
“What I can tell you (is) that I tried my best, I tried to give him as many opportunities as I could,” Arteta told Sky Sports [via the Daily Mail]. “And that from my own side, I’ve been patient and given him opportunities and been fair.
“He’s a player that belongs to a football club, he’s been a really important player in the last few seasons. I have to respect that.
“I’m here to make decisions, the best decisions for the team and for the club and this is what I try to do and then I have to explain them because people need the reasons and the right answers and I just give mine, whether they believe me or agree with me or not, there’s nothing I can do.
“But I have to put my decisions, with my heart and with my brain to make the right decisions that I believe are good.”
Having been frozen out by Unai Emery, Ozil did force himself back into the first team fold following Arteta’s appointment in December. However, he has not featured for the club since lockdown.