Mikel Arteta insists Mesut Ozil was dropped from Arsenal’s Premier League solely for “football reasons” and rejected reports which suggested Ozil was omitted due to an internal rift over player pay cuts.
Speaking at his press conference ahead of Thursday’s Europa League Group B opener at Rapid Vienna, Arteta took full responsibility for Ozil’s absence, but insists it was a call made purely for footballing reasons.
“Everybody is free to express his feeling,” he said. “What I can say from my side is that it is just a football decision. My conscience is very calm because I have been really fair with him. My level of communication with him has been really high and we know what to expect with each other.
“Obviously a player of that dimension, with the career he has had, everything that happens around him has a big impact. It has been the case for the last eight years, it is nothing new that is just happening now. A lot of things have happened over these eight years.
“My job is to get the best out of every player, to contribute to the team performance. Here I feel at the moment, today, that I have failed. I want the best possible Mesut for the team. And in some moments I was able to get close to that, and at the moment I have not been able to do it because I have to make the decision to leave him out of the squad.”
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