The long-running saga between Mesut Ozil and Arsenal came to an end on Sunday as it was announced that the midfielder has joined Fenerbahce on a three-and-a-half-year deal.
Ozil, who scored 44 goals in 254 appearances for the Gunners, has been frozen out of Mikel Arteta’s squad in recent months with his final appearance coming in March last year.
“7.5 years. Nearly 3,000 days. It feels strange to be writing this message after such a long time here in London,” Ozil wrote on social media. “Since the moment I arrived, it has felt like home. I was welcomed with open arms by all the Arsenal staff, my teammates, and most importantly the incredible fans.”
Ozil added the he will be “a Gunner for life — no doubt about that” and concluded the message by saying that his “connection with this amazing club will never fade. It might be goodbye for now, but it’s not goodbye forever.”
Arsenal and Fenerbahce, currently third in the Turkish Super Lig, both confirmed the transfer.
When he arrived from Real Madrid for a club record fee of $54.8 million in 2013, Ozil was considered one of the best playmakers in the world.
Although his time at Arsenal has ended on the sidelines, he leaves having helped bring silverware to the club, notably starring in three victorious FA Cup finals in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
“Mesut’s achievements at Arsenal are undisputed,” said manager Mikel Arteta, who lined up alongside Ozil during his playing career.
“His creativity and vision led to many goals during his time in the Arsenal shirt,” Arteta said. “Mesut was at the heart of many great moments for this club over the years, including those three FA Cup final wins. These successes will always be part of our history.”
Since taking charge of Arsenal, Arteta has shown he can be ruthless towards players as he has appeared content leaving Ozil, a World Cup winner with Germany and reportedly one of the club’s highest earners, out of the team.
On top of his three FA Cups, Ozil also helped Arsenal win the Community Shield in 2015 and was named as the club’s player of the 2015/16 season.
However, a move away from North London has seemed inevitable since the 32-year-old was left out of Arsenal’s 25-man squads for the Europa League and the Premier League last year.
Ozil appeared to hint at his move to Turkey on January 11 when he responded to a fan on Twitter saying he has supported Fenerbahce since he was a kid growing up in Germany.
“Every German-Turkish person supports a Turkish team when they grow up in Germany,” he said. “And mine was Fenerbahce. Fenerbahce is like Real Madrid in Spain. The biggest club in the country.”