Mikel Arteta has fired back at Mesut Ozil’s agent after the Arsenal boss was accused of being ‘dishonest’ due to his treatment of the expensive outcast.
The playmaker, who earns £350,000 a week, was not included in the club’s Premier League or Europa League squads in a bombshell move that brings an end to his time on the field until at least January.
Dr Erkut Sogut, Ozil’s representative, launched a staunch defence of his client in response and criticised Arteta over how the situation has unfolded.
And the heated war of words has now continued with Arteta insisting that he has remained ‘honest’ over the reasons behind Ozil’s enforced absence.
Before his side’s clash with Leicester on Sunday, Arteta said: ‘If you have to lead, they have to trust you. In order for them to trust you, you have to be honest.
‘You have to be clear and you have to be able to tell people, face to face, the good and bad news.
‘Then you have to be consistent in what you say, the demands you put in and what you apply.
‘When things happen, you applaud them and then when they don’t, there are consequences. Then you create a culture and within that culture people have to be accountable.
‘People have to step up and they have to demand the standards we need of each other from this football club in order to be successful.’
Sogut’s withering criticism prompted Arteta to admit that he has ‘failed’ to ensure every player is performing at their best.
But Arteta’s comments did nothing to sate Sogut’s fury, with the World Cup winner’s agent telling ESPN: ‘Arsenal fans deserve an honest explanation, not [Arteta] saying, “I failed Ozil.”
‘You didn’t fail Ozil. You failed to be fair, honest and transparent and treat someone with respect who has a contract and was loyal all the time.’
Ozil has not featured for Arsenal since March – although Arteta stressed that the former Real Madrid man’s absence was purely due to football reasons.
As reported by Sportsmail, Ozil is convinced his criticism of China’s alleged mistreatment of Uighur Muslims played a role in the decision to force him into exile.
Arsenal hold a sizeable commercial interest in the nation.
The behaviour of the 32-year-old has also been called into question during lockdown, with Ozil slammed across multiple fronts for refusing to take a pay cut at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
The midfielder is believed to have opted against an agreement due to a lack of clarity over how the money would be spent.
After it surfaced that Ozil would likely not play again for the north London club again, Ozil released a statement which criticised Arsenal for their lack of loyalty.
He did stop shot of apportioning blame on Arteta, however.