Is Mesut Ozil being a prima donna?

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil

The attitude of Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is getting under the skin of his teammates, reports The S*n. The 29-year-old missed Arsene Wenger’s final home game as manager through illness and many are unhappy that he appears to handpick which games he wants to play in.

Ozil has missed Arsenal’s last five Premier League games, each time having an indeterminate ailment cited as the reason for his absence from the starting eleven. He’s set to miss the remaining two outings also but hadn’t missed a Champions League since February which has raised questions whether he’s selecting the games he wants to play in.

Arsenal offered the German international a three-year deal in January that saw him double his wages and his form hasn’t been the same ever since. Ozil has failed to start 25 of Arsenal’s 58 games across the board this season but Wenger has given a reason for his patch appearance record.

He said in February: “Ozil’s immune system is a bit in trouble and I don’t know why. I hope we can improve that medically.” The Arsenal boss recently confirmed Ozil’s setback is a recurrence of an existing problem, adding: “It’s a recurrence of his problem. I don’t know long he is out. I don’t think he’ll be available for the rest of the season.”

Arsenal signed the 29-year-old from Real Madrid in 2013 and he’s gone on to make 196 appearances in all competitions, scoring and creating 108 goals. However, Ozil has been criticised for a lot of his performances and languid attitude, something The S*n have reported is rubbing his teammates up the wrong way of late.

The report states that a number of Arsenal players were unimpressed that he missed Wenger’s farewell outing, and the lack of a real announcement about his alleged injury has made doubting the validity. Gunners legend Martin Keown correctly predicted Ozil would keep out of the spotlight after delivering a below-par performance in the Europa League semi-final and now he’s unlikely to be seen for the remainder of the campaign.

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil hasn’t played in a league game since March.

There does seem to be a strange coincidence of the German playmaker pulling out of dead rubber league games but being available for important European outings, and now he’s being accused of keeping himself fresh for the 2018 World Cup in Russia this summer.

Ozil played a full 90 minutes in the first leg of Arsenal’s Europa League quarter-final clash with CSKA Moscow on April 5 but was an unused substitute against Southampton three days later – Wenger said it was due to fears of burnout.

The 29-year-old played a full 90 minutes the following Thursday (April 12) in the CSKA return leg but was left out of the matchday squad days later in the league against Newcastle – Wenger said Ozil was carrying a minor knock.

He didn’t feature against West Ham United a week after (April 22) due to illness but returned for the Europa League semi-final clash with Atletico Madrid four days later, playing a full 90 minutes. Ozil was left out of the squad to face Manchester United three days later, however, due to being ‘rested’.

And after recovering to play a full 90 minutes against Atleti in the return leg of the Europa League (May 3), Ozil was ruled out of the Burnley clash on May 6 due to a back injury.

Keown wasn’t convinced the excuses were genuine, saying to BT Sport after Arsenal’s Europa League elimination: “These are crocodile tears I’m seeing. He’s not conning me. I bet he doesn’t play again this season. He will have some emotional breakdown and won’t be able to play at the weekend. He wasn’t fit to wear the shirt for me tonight, and I have seen this a lot this season.”

Is Mesut Ozil a prima donna, or does he have a genuine illness?

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Crippy can be found on Twitter (@CrippyCooke). He is a sports journalist who has written for the Independent, Bleacher Report, Huffington Post, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph among others. Crippy treats football gossip with a dash of cynicism and loves tearing apart outlandish rumours.

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