Mesut Özil said farewell to Arsenal teammates and flew to Turkey on Sunday to join Fenerbahçe in a bid to reignite a once-flourishing career that faltered in London.
The former Germany midfielder, who is of Turkish descent, hasn't played for Arsenal since March after falling out of favor with manager Mikel Arteta over concerns about the player's work rate.
"I am very excited. I've said I'm a Fenerbahçe fan. I am very happy to be coming to Fenerbahçe," Özil said in a telephone interview with Turkish broadcaster BBO Sports. "God has granted me the chance to wear the Fenerbahçe uniform as a Fenerbahçe fan. I will do my best for the team."
The 32-year-old Özil wasn't even included in Arsenal's Premier League squad for the season despite being one of the highest earners and has been ostentatiously tweeting his support for the team from his home during matches.
Now Arsenal has managed to offload Özil before his contract expires in June. Fenerbahçe posted images of Özil leaving London on a private jet on Sunday night.
After 7½ years at Arsenal, which he joined from Real Madrid, Özil is heading to Fenerbahçe.
Fenerbahçe won the last of its 19 Turkish league titles in 2014.
Özil's last match for Arsenal was in March, a week before soccer was suspended at the outbreak of the coronavirus, so he might not be match-sharp to start immediately for Fenerbahçe.
Özil became ostracized by Arsenal just as Arteta was hired as manager in December 2019.