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Fenerbahce are still to confirm the signing of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil
Turkey’s strict Covid-19 protocols are holding up confirmation of Mesut Ozil’s eagerly-anticipated transfer from Arsenal to Fenerbahce, according to Mikel Arteta.
‘The quarantine situation is making that final step the longest ever because they have a lot of restrictions there,’ the Arsenal manager revealed ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Southampton.
‘There are things that have to be done before announcing anything. I think everything seems to be going okay, but I cannot say definitely what is going to happen, so as soon as we can, don’t worry, we will mention it.’
Ozil starred prominently in the opening weeks of Arteta’s tenure and started the first 10 Premier League games of his former teammate’s reign.
The 32-year-old, however, failed to feature over the course of ‘Project Restart’ and was deemed surplus to requirements by his manager this season.
Indeed, the former Real Madrid playmaker hasn’t played in a competitive game since March 20 last year and with no resolution in sight, Arteta admitted he had to make a ‘difficult’ decision and take his side in ‘a new direction.’
He said: ‘For many different reasons [it was a tough decision]… there is a history here what happened in the past few years, how things developed, how I think the team should evolve for the future, and his position at the club.
‘A player with such an importance that is not playing, that is not in the squad, it is a really difficult situation to sustain for both parties because the player wants to play and we cannot give him the minutes. Obviously that situation has to be resolved.
‘He is a great footballer, a really talented footballer, a player who has done a lot for the football club but at the moment I want to take the team in a different direction. If we were to have more options, then maybe he was part of some plans – he was part of some plans at the start, and he wasn’t at the end.’
Pressed on his vision for his Arsenal team, minus the talents of Ozil, he added: ‘Arsenal has to challenge for every trophy, and every game has to be won: that is the standard, and the level and the history related to us.
‘I want to do that in a way that our DNA shows, which is using a lot of talent, young talent as well, using players from our academy and building something different.
‘In the last few seasons we have so many different issues not to achieve what we want and in my opinion there were things that have to be changed and slowly, to build something, you have to change some pieces and we are in that process.’