Footballer Mesut Ozil confirmed at the weekend that he is leaving Arsenal for Turkish club Fenerbahce. The 32-year-old, who has Turkish roots, arrived in Istanbul yesterday to have a medical and complete the deal.
Ozil told Turkish NTV yesterday that he is "very happy, very excited" to be joining Fenerbahce and would "wear the shirt with pride".
He was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying that he is a Fenerbahce fan. "That is why I am very happy to be coming to Turkey to play for the club. I'm very excited. God gave me the chance to wear this shirt as a Fenerbahce fan. God willing, I will wear it with honour and do everything I can for the team."
The German-born World Cup winner has faced almost a year of frustration at Arsenal after apparently being frozen out by manager Mikel Arteta. Ozil was omitted from Arsenal's English Premier League and Europa League squads at the start of the current season. The last time he played for Arsenal was in a 1-0 win over West Ham on 7 March last year.
Despite the long break from first team football, Ozil insists that he is match fit, telling NTV, "I haven't played a match in a while, but I am physically fit, I have no issues." He pointed out that he had continued to train with the first team at Arsenal throughout his prolonged absence from the match day squad.
Ozil's contract with the London club was due to expire at the end of the 2020/21 season. He has reportedly agreed to a £285,000-a-week pay cut to join Fenerbahce on a free transfer. However, he will scoop a £4.5m signing bonus on top of a £225,000 reward if Fenerbahce qualify for the Champions League, as well as £445,000 if the club wins the Turkish Super League.
According to Turkish media reports, the former German international player is signing a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Istanbul side, which is currently second in the league behind Besiktas.
It is not yet clear what squad number Ozil will wear. His preferred number 10 is currently worn by striker Mbwana Samatta. He tweeted "67" with a heart emoji yesterday, prompting his Twitter followers to conclude that it is his new shirt number. Al Jazeera, however, noted that the digits correspond to the first two numbers of the post code of Zonguldak in Turkey, where the player's family come from.