Mesut Ozil has mentally left Arsenal already, claims Gunners great Martin Keown

James Benge
Goner? | Ozil has not put pen to paper on a contract extension: Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has claimed that Mesut Ozil has “mentally left the club” ahead of his contract’s expiry at the end of the season.

Ozil has rejected a £250,000-a-week offer to extend his contract at Arsenal but has not enjoyed the sort of start to the season that will have suitors queuing up for his signature.

Though Inter Milan have publically courted the 28-year-old – with president Erik Thohir hinting again at a move this summer – and Fenerbahce maintaining their long-held interest Ozil attracted minimal interest over the summer. That may change in January, when his imminent contract expiry would allow European clubs to agree terms with him. Manchester United could also enter the fray.

An inflamed knee has limited Ozil to just seven minutes of football in Arsenal’s last six games but Keown believes the World Cup winner is already prepared for life away from North London.

“I think he's testing Wenger more than any other player has,” Keown said on BBC Radio 5 Live. “I think it was Belarus the other week, he didn't fancy going. He didn't want to go.

“Suddenly he was injured again, he played nine minutes against West Bromwich Albion on the Monday, so how did he get injured there?

“I think in some departments he's already left. Psychologically, mentally, he's already left the football club. Maybe Wenger is now trying to do the best deal he can to get some compensation for him.”

Ozil did not join up with the Germany squad for World Cup qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan and is expected to return to the Arsenal side for next Saturday’s trip to Watford.

Arsenal have won five of their six matches during Ozil’s injury absence and claimed a creditable 0-0 draw at Chelsea in the other game. With Sanchez also out of the starting lineup the Gunners put in a significantly more impressive defensive display as Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck defended the flanks.

​Keown added: “They played exceptionally well at Chelsea, where Iwobi did a really manful job – I know he hasn't got the talent of Ozil, of course, but suddenly Arsenal could compete in both departments defensively and attacking-wise. It was probably the best performance I've seen in a couple of years.

“I was really impressed and it seemed like every player was giving their best. Sanchez is different. He loves playing football, just give him a ball and he'll play and that's all he wants to do. But Ozil, I think he's downed tools, he wants to go and it's going to get messy.”

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