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Football Reporting


Inside Mesut Ozil’s miserable start to life at Fenerbahce as former Arsenal ace struggles

Mesut Ozil’s final chapter at Arsenal was plagued with headlines, subtle social media shots and behind the scenes fall-outs, everything BUT on-field actions.

A mercurial talent at times, Ozil’s time in north London divides opinion, to many his stint in north London represents all that was wrong with the demise of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, a luxury talent who failed to perform on a consistent basis, to others he embodied all the positives of a trademark Wenger signing – deft, controlled and elegant.

Following a complete breakdown in relationship with Wenger’s successor Unai Emery, Ozil may have been optimistic about his Arsenal career facing a resurgence. On the contrary, bar the early stages of his reign, former teammate turned manager Mikel Arteta used him even less.

Ozil’s lowest point came when Arsenal opted not to register him for their 25-man Premier League squad at the beginning of this season, prompting the playmaker to imply a lack of loyalty on Arsenal’s behalf via social media.

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Dream move

Ozil has made just seven appearances for the Turkish side

Eventually, the toxic relationship ended with an amicable parting of ways, with Ozil finally putting an end to the sorry saga by joining his boyhood club and Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

The move came with intense media speculation, with the player himself teasing the deal a number of days before it was actually confirmed. Hardly subtle moves like changing the colour of his twitter profile to match that of Fenerbahce’s made sure it was clear everyone knew Ozil’s time at Arsenal was over.

The 32-year-old joined the Turkish Süper Lig in January, proudly posing with photos holding his new number 67 shirt as a reference to the Turkish postal code Ozil grew up in.

He was all smiles as he told Turkish television network NTV: “I’m very happy, very excited. God has given me the chance to wear the Fenerbahce shirt. I will wear it with pride and give everything for the team.”

But fast forward four months and the former Real Madrid midfielder’s time in Turkey has been anything but a dream, his short stay plagued with injuries and more off-field drama.

A dismal start

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Ozil’s injury is likely to see him out of action until May at the earliest

Despite joining at the turn of the year, Ozil’s Fenerbahce stats make for grim reading. The playmaker has featured seven times, six in the league with one cup run-out, and has registered a dismal zero goals and assists.

Hardly a scintillating start, Ozil’s arrival then received another blow. Stretchered off in a clash with Antalyaspor last month, it was later revealed the German had sustained partial tears to his inner and outer lateral ankle ligaments – an injury that can typically take six weeks to nurse.

The more optimistic Fener fans first hoped at the very worst he could return for the league tie against Denizlispor on April 5, but Ozil remained crocked on the side-lines.

In Ozil’s last game before the injury, the 32-year-old had a golden opportunity to open his Fener account but rushed his effort from close range and dragged the ball wide of the near post. Many of the coaching staff covered their face in disbelief as the former Arsenal man spurned such a glorious chance.

If Ozil had hoped his time in Turkey would be a perfect chance for him to see out his playing days with little to no controversy, he has already been sorely mistaken.

Controversy follows again

Fenerbahce’s president called on the fans to help pay Ozil’s huge wages

Club president Ali Koc already caused headlines when he urged supporters to donate to the club to pay Ozil’s wage, but he has been sure to embroil the club in an even deeper scandal by waging war on beIN sports, the club’s official television broadcaster.

Koc accused beIN of manipulating VAR and intentionally choosing camera angles that show the club in an unadvantagous light, while blocking the media company from access to Ozil’s official unveiling.

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Koc eventually lost his legal battle with beIN, who currently pay $370m a year for the domestic broadcast rights to the Super Lig.

In four months, Ozil has completed 90 minutes just once for Fenerbahce in the league, while just his fourth start for the club saw him feature in a dismal performance that knocked Fener out of their domestic cup competition.

The World Cup winner is reportedly close to returning from his injury and will hope there is better days ahead for him in the famous navy and gold jersey, but Arsenal fans will know all too well that with Mesut Ozil, controversy is never too far away.

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