Turkish footballing giant Fenerbahçe have tonight released photos of superstar player Mesut Özil with his wife Amine and baby daughter Eda just before they boarded a private jet heading for Istanbul.
A brief statement from Fenerbahçe, released along with tonight’s photos, stated that, “Our club is bringing Mesut Özil to Istanbul to continue the transfer processes.”
Özil reciprocated by posting a photo of himself, his wife and daughter inside the jet, with the club’s flags behind them, and the word ‘soon’ along with icons of an arrow, Turkish flag, yellow and blue hearts, and an airplane.
The development ends months of speculation about where Özil would play next after his career at Arsenal had stalled.
The son of Turkish immigrants, Fenerbahçe is the club Özil supported as a boy growing up in Germany and it has long been an ambition of club chairman Ali Koç to bring the World Cup star to Turkey.
On Saturday, the club tweeted “Gel Gündüzle Gece Olalım” [‘Come Let’s Become Day and Night’] – lyrics from a popular Tarkan song, ‘Gül Döktüm Yollarına’ [I threw roses on your path’].
Özil responded by retweeting the post, adding hearts in the club’s yellow and blue colours, along with a sand hourglass emoticon.
🔜 🇹🇷💛💙✈️ pic.twitter.com/WfFg5m1stp
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) January 17, 2021
According to British media reports, the player is leaving Arsenal on good terms after agreeing to waive part of his remaining £7 million salary in order to complete a free transfer to Fenerbahçe.
Arsenal gave him permission to travel to Turkey to undergo a medical, and it’s believed Özil has already said goodbye to his North London teammates and club staff earlier today.
The 32-year-old attacking midfielder joined Arsenal from Real Madrid for a club record of £42.5 million in 2013. However, current manager Mikel Arteta made it clear last year that Özil was not in his plans.
The decision to freeze out Özil surprised many, given he has won multiple trophies in his career, including the Spain’s La Liga Title (2012), three FA Cups with Arsenal (2014, 2015, and 2017) and the German Cup DFB-Pokal with Werder Bremen in 2009.
He was a star player for Germany when it won the World Cup in 2014 and also in the U21 team that was crowned U21 European Champions in 2009.
Yet the midfielder has not played for Arsenal since a 1-0 win over West Ham in March. To underline Özil’s outcast status, Arteta left Özil’s name off the club’s squad sheet when registering players for the Premier League and Europe at the start of this season. Despite not playing, the club was still contractually obliged to pay Özil his £350,000 weekly salary.
The player’s record for the Gunners is on a par with his career average, with a goal or an assist in every other game: 254 matches played, 44 goals scored and 77 assists.
Bilgilendirme | Kulübümüz, transfer süreçlerini ilerletmek için Mesut Özil’i İstanbul’a getiriyor. 💛💙
Club Statement: Our club is bringing Mesut Özil to Istanbul to continue the transfer processes. pic.twitter.com/Wt0gR8xRSk
— Fenerbahçe SK (@Fenerbahce) January 17, 2021
Earlier this week, Fenerbahçe’s Sporting Director Emre Belözoğlu told Turkish media: “Mesut is a very big star. We are talking about a player who, no matter which team he is playing for, contributes to a goal every two games.”
“I would be very pleased that Fenerbahçe had such a player especially during our time. We had a meeting with him and his manager. The process is slow, but Mesut is closer than ever.”
Belözoğlu is among those from the club waiting at the airport to welcome Özil and his family when they arrive in Istanbul tonight.
Meanwhile hundreds of Arsenal and football fans have taken to social media to wish Özil well for the next chapter in his career.
One wrote, “Things may not work out in the end but as a fans we will never forget the name @MesutOzil1088. Good luck in your new adventure”
Another wrote, “THE BEST”, with an illustration of the player sitting in front of all football shirts from the different teams he’s played for.
Things may not work out in the end but as a fans we will never forget the name @MesutOzil1088
Good luck in your new adventure pic.twitter.com/3ptzJwDwJe
— Sadiqueβ (@SadikAFC) January 17, 2021