In case he wasn't already in the club's bad books, Mesut Ozil has antagonised Arsenal further with comments in an interview this week in which he defended his decision not to take a pay cut earlier in the year.
Ozil is Arsenal's highest paid player and was one of a group of players who were asked to take a cut to their wages in April, as a response to potential financial damages brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The German playmaker hasn't featured for the Gunners since the restart, and suggested to The Athletic that his decision to not take the reduction in wages could be the reason behind this, saying: "You don't play 10 games in a row if you're unfit, not good enough or don't behave well."
He insisted that he hasn't had any injury that would have kept him out for the whole restart operation, and suggested: "Possibly the decision affected my chances on the pitch, I don’t know. But I’m not afraid to stand up for what I feel is right – and when you see what has happened now with the jobs, maybe I was."
The Daily Mail report that Arsenal have since been left angered by Ozil's decision to defend himself so vehemently, and by the criticism of their recent decision to let go of 55 members of staff.
The 31-year-old World Cup winner has ruled out leaving the club despite a seemingly frosty relationship however, and is determined to see out his contract until its expiry next summer.
“I’m here through to the last day of our agreement and I’ll give everything I have for this club. Situations like these will never break me, they only make me stronger," he stated, before harking back to previous issues he's had with the club. "I showed in the past that I can come back into the team and I will show it again.”
The German has largely been used as a scapegoat at the Emirates in the past, notably for poor team performances. The relationship between himself and the club became damaged last year when Ozil expressed his disappointment in the club for their silence regarding the treatment of Uighir Muslims in China, in which Arsenal stated they were 'apolitical'.