Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, has said he allowed Mesut Ozil to leave because he wants to “take the team in a different direction.”

Ozil is on the verge of completing a move to Fenerbahce as a free agent, after the Gunners agreed to mutually terminate his contract with six months left to run.

The 32-year-old playmaker was a key figure under Arteta following his appointment as Gunners boss in December 2019, but has been frozen out of the first team since March.

Arteta’s decision to leave Ozil out from his registered 25-man squads in the Premier League and Europa League effectively called time on the player’s time at Arsenal.

And the Spaniard insists his call was based on purely football reasons rather than any reported rift behind the scenes.

Asked why he was willing to let Ozil go, Arteta told a press conference today: “For many different reasons, there is a history here as well what happened in the last few years, how things developed, how I believed the team should evolve for the future and his position at the club.

“A player with such an importance that is not playing, not in the squad, is a really difficult situation to sustain for both parties.

“If a player wants to play and we cannot give him the minutes, obviously that situation has to be resolved.”

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