Report: Mesut Ozil's Arsenal Teammates Frustrated at Star's Level of Commitment

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IMay 8, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 03: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final second leg match between Atletico Madrid  and Arsenal FC at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on May 3, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Mesut Ozil's Arsenal team-mates have reportedly become frustrated with the German international's level of commitment.

The playmaker will not play again for the Gunners this season due to a back injury, and there is a "growing unhappiness" in the dressing room that he is picking which games he wants to play in, according to Danny Gallagher for MailOnline.

Ozil is Arsenal's best-paid player after signing a contract worth £350,000 per week in February, but his team-mates have begun to question the "mystery illnesses" that have seen him frequently sidelined.

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown predicted Ozil would miss Arsenal's clash with Burnley on Sunday after the club's UEFA Europa League exit in the semi-finals to Atletico Madrid:

Football on BT Sport showed Keown's assessment of the German:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Thursday: "I bet Ozil doesn't play again this season. He'll have some breakdown and won't be able to play at the weekend!" - Keown Sunday: Misses Arsenal's 5-0 win over Burnley Tuesday: "Football players do not pick and choose games." - Wenger https://t.co/nk73hGlfnI

Keown was subsequently proved correct as Ozil was ruled out of the game with a back problem.

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Manager Arsene Wenger rejected suggestions the midfielder picks which games he wants to play in, per James Olley at the Evening Standard:

James Olley @JamesOlley

Wenger insists Mesut Ozil is injured and rejects suggestion he picks and chooses games to play in.

The 29-year-old explained his absence, via Twitter:

Mesut Özil @MesutOzil1088

It's a pity I missed yesterday's match with my back injury. It'll need some time but I'm sure I'll fully recover in time for the World Cup. Once again I'd like to thank our boss. It was an honour playing for you, Mon. Wenger! Thanks for all the memories we shared together. 🙏🏼 https://t.co/8VlfJjJ2EX

Ozil has featured in 26 of Arsenal's 36 Premier League games this season, but there has been scrutiny over some of the games he has missed.

Sports journalist Mark Mann-Bryans was not convinced by Wenger's explanation of an Ozil absence in February:

Wenger was also asked why Ozil was ill so often, per Mann-Bryans:

Mark Mann-Bryans @MarkyMBryans

Wenger said he would have started Ozil on Thursday if only he hadn’t been ill and in bed all week....doesn’t seem too under the weather here. #AFC https://t.co/rSlUxMj288

There is a feeling that Ozil is treated differently to other Arsenal players by Wenger, as he is a rare creative talent who is capable of scoring goals and unlocking defences when he's at his best.

Mark Mann-Bryans @MarkyMBryans

Asked Wenger today about why Ozil keeps getting ill - "His immune system is a bit in trouble at the moment and I don’t know why. We have we can improve that medically. "He came back from Ostersund on Thursday night, practised Friday & Saturday, since Monday he was in bed." #AFC

The Arsenal boss has defended Ozil from Keown's criticism and said Ozil "should not be now victimised by anyone because we did not score," per The Independent.

Ozil's cause is not helped by his languid style and body language that often makes him look disinterested. 

It's been a difficult season for Arsenal, with the sixth-placed club destined to finish the season without a trophy and also set to miss out on UEFA Champions League football for a second consecutive season.

Ozil remains a key player for the Gunners, but the club are perhaps justified to expect more from such a hugely talented player in whom they have invested so heavily.


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