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As the Mesut Özil saga rumbles on at Arsenal, further details about the financial implications of his current stay are emerging.
David Ornstein reports for The Athletic that Arsenal had to pay around £8m to Mesut Özil as a loyalty bonus at the end of September, as the player entered the final year of his deal.
These bonuses are fairly common nowadays, rewarding players for seeing out their long-term contracts instead of signing extensions and quickly moving on. But it’s obviously not ideal to be paying one to a player who isn’t featuring on the pitch.
Ornstein also provided a major hint as to why the former German international isn’t playing at the moment. He reports that Arsenal are saving significant sums of money in appearance-related bonuses while Özil isn’t featuring.
There have been plenty of rumours about this, but it’s good to get some confirmation from a reliable source. It’s actually my personal theory for why Mikel Arteta is choosing not to select the player.
Despite all the talk on social media about Özil’s activism forcing him out, I seriously doubt that has anything to do with it. The far simpler explanation is that Arsenal don’t have much money right now, and they’ll have even less if they’re paying Özil bonuses.
If he were one of the top performers in the team, like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, you’d take the financial hit. But for a player who doesn’t necessarily fit Arteta’s current system, they probably don’t think it’s worth it.
Better to exclude him and invest the savings in Partey’s wages, and so on. I’m not saying it’s fair, it just seems like a pretty likely explanation for a strange situation.