ISTANBUL, Turkey, Jan 24 – Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has joined Fenerbahce on a three-and-a-half year deal after last playing for the Gunners in March, both clubs announced on Sunday.
The 32-year-old German was omitted from Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads this season and his reported deal on a weekly salary of £350,000 ($475,000) was set to expire at the end of the current camapaign.
“I’d like to thank the club for this amazing journey over the past seven-and-a-half years,” Ozil, who won the World Cup with Germany in 2014, said in a statement.
“Together we won trophies for the first time in years and created memories that will last a lifetime,” he added.
Ozil, who is of Turkish origin, was heavily criticised in Germany for posing for a photograph with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2018.
Erdogan was also the best man at the player’s wedding in Turkey.
Ozil ended his international career after what he described “racist” attacks following the holders’ first-round exit at the 2018 World Cup.
Fenerbahce, one of Istanbul’s three big clubs, are currently third in the league behind Besiktas.
Ozil joined Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013 and lifted the FA Cup on three occasions under then-coach Arsene Wenger.
After starting the first 10 games of Mikel Arteta’s reign as boss in north London, Ozil’s last appearance came in a win over West Ham last March before the coronavirus pandemic saw football grind to a halt last year.
“Mesut’s achievements at Arsenal are undisputed. It was a privilege to play alongside him and, more recently, coach him,” Arteta said on the club’s website.
“These successes will always be part of our history. We thank Mesut and wish him all the best with Fenerbahce.”
In December 2019, Arsenal also distanced themselves from comments Ozil made on social media criticising China’s treatment of the Uighur population.