Mesut Ozil has revealed he plans to play his football in Turkey or the United States when he does eventually exit Arsenal.
The German has been heavily-linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium during the last two transfer windows and has not played for the north London side since March last year.
He took part in a Twitter question and answer session on Monday and dropped plenty of hints about his next destination, with Fenerbahce and DC United reported to be among the teams leading the chase for his signature.
With only six months left on his terms with the Gunners, the 32-year-old was asked if he will continue his career when his contract at Arsenal runs out.
Ozil replied: “I definitely will. There are two countries I want to play football in before I retire: Turkey and USA. If I went to Turkey, I could only go to Fenerbahce.”
The World Cup winner described former manager Arsene Wenger as a “special coach” and praised the recent displays of youngster Emile Smith Rowe.
Smith Rowe has occupied the number 10 position, which was previously Ozil’s, and been a key part in Arsenal winning their last four matches.
Ozil admitted the 20-year-old had “made the difference in the last couple of games” and he also delighted fans of Fenerbahce when quizzed on why he supports the Istanbul-based club.
He added: “I grew up as a Fenerbahce fan as a kid in Germany – every German-Turkish person supports a Turkish team when they grow up in Germany.
“And mine was Fenerbahce. Fenerbahce is like Real Madrid in Spain. The biggest club in the country.”
Gunners manager Mikel Arteta made the decision not to select Ozil once football resumed in June after being halted at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Before the sport was suspended, the former Real Madrid playmaker had been a regular under the Spaniard but has failed to feature since and was not included in the club’s Premier League or Europa League squads for the first half of the campaign.
“There have been many ups and downs so far, but all in all I’ve never regretted my decision to join Arsenal,” Ozil insisted.
“And to be honest the last couple of games before the corona break in February and March 2020 made really a lot fun.
“I’ve enjoyed that time a lot and I’ve thought we’re really on a very positive way. But after the break things unfortunately changed.”
Arteta conceded it has been a tough period for the highest-paid player in the club’s history, but also pointed out Ozil was not the only senior player left out of the 25-man squad for both competitions.
Defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos was also discarded and will hope to exit the club in this transfer window as well.
“Well it’s always difficult to handle this situation when you are left out of the squad,” Arteta said ahead of Thursday’s home fixture with Crystal Palace.
“It’s been difficult for everybody to have players who weren’t in the squad – it wasn’t only him – because you need them motivated, training well and being part of what we are trying to do and they don’t feel like they can contribute to that.
“It’s always tricky. We have tried to manage that in the best possible way.”