ISTANBUL, Turkey: Former Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil will look to reignite his career in Turkey after confirming Sunday he is leaving Arsenal to join Fenerbahce.
Ozil, who is of Turkish descent, hasnt played for Arsenal this season after falling out of favor with manager Mikel Arteta over concerns about the players work rate.
I am very excited. Ive said Im a Fenerbahce fan. I am very happy to be coming to Fenerbahce,” Ozil said in a telephone interview with Turkish broadcaster BBO Sports. “God has granted me the chance to wear the Fenerbahce uniform as a Fenerbahce fan. I will do my best for the team.
The 32-year-old Ozil wasnt even included in Arsenals Premier League squad for the season and has been ostentatiously tweeting his support for the team from his home during matches.
After 7 years at the London club, which he joined from Real Madrid, Ozil is heading to one of the favored clubs of Turkeys president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Welcome to your home, your country dear @MesutOzil1088,” Erdogan spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tweeted.
Ozil posed for photos with Erdogan in May 2018 in the run-up to the Turkish general election prompting serious criticism from German soccer officials and antagonizing some in Germany who felt the player wasnt fully behind the national team while the president was the best man at Ozils wedding ceremony.
Ozils last match for Arsenal was in March, a week before soccer was suspended at the outbreak of the coronavirus, so he might not be match-sharp to start immediately for Fenerbahce.
Fenerbahce won the last of its 19 Turkish league titles in 2014. The team has not been in the Champions League group stage since a match-fixing scandal broke in 2011.
Fenerbahce informed Turkeys Borsa Istanbul index in a statement that it was in talks for the transfer of Ozil, whose Arsenal contract expires at the end of the season.
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