On Wednesday, Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil penned an emotional note to the fans expressing his disappointment at being left out of the Premier League squad. Ozil, however, promised that it will not change his mindset.
Ozil, who has not played for Arsenal since March 7, was left out of both the Europa League and domestic lists. That means, the 32-year-old will not be available until at least January and has most likely played his last match for the club.
The German midfielder, however, believes that Arsenal's tie-up with China resulted in his exclusion from the Premier League and Europa League squads. In December 2019, Ozil launched a scathing attack on the Chinese government for allegedly mistreating the Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang province. It was a statement which was quickly disowned by Arsenal but managed to have a damaging effect on the club's commercial business.
Following Ozil's comment, Arsenal's Premier League fixture against Manchester City on the next day was not broadcasted by the Chinese CCTV. The Chinese foreign ministry and the Chinese FA also condemned Ozil's comments.
Ozil was no longer a part of the Chinese editions of Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) video game. His account from the Chinese social media platform Weibo was erased.
The midfielder's exclusion from the squads could be the 'Arsenal' way of repairing the relationship with China, where the club owns a restaurant chain and have an official lottery partner and vehicle provider.
Accusing Arsenal of disloyalty, Ozil pledged to use his global profile to fight against inhumanity.
"This is a difficult message to write to Arsenal fans that I've played for over the past few years," Ozil wrote in a statement.
"I'm really disappointed by the fact that I have not been registered for the Premier League season for the time being.
"Upon signing my new contract in 2018, I pledged my loyalty and allegiance to the club that I love, Arsenal, and it saddens me that this has not been reciprocated.
"As I have just found out, loyalty is hard to come by nowadays. I've always tried to remain positive from week to week that there's maybe a chance to get back in the squad soon again. That's why I kept silent so far.
"Before the coronavirus break I was really happy with the development under our new coach Mikel Arteta -- we've been on a positive way and I would say my performances were on a really good level.
"But then things changed, and, and I was not longer allowed to play football for Arsenal.
"What else can I say? London still feels like home, I still have many good friends in this team, and I still feel a strong connection with the fans of this club.
"No matter what, I will keep fighting for my chance and not let my eighth season at Arsenal end like this.
"I can promise you that this hard decision won't change anything in the my mindset -- I will continue to train as best as I can and wherever possible use my voice against inhumanity and for justice."
Joining the north London club from Real Madrid in 2013, the German midfield maestro has scored 44 goals in 254 appearances.