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Former Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is reportedly being lined up to become Turkey’s new general manager. The World Cup winner called time on his playing career back in March following injury-hit spells with Fenerbahce and Istanbul Basaksehir.
Ozil spent eight seasons at Arsenal, establishing himself as one of the most creative players in the Premier League and quickly endearing himself to supporters. Although his stint at the club fizzled out under Mikel Arteta, the German remains a revered figure in north London.
Six months after retiring at the age of 34, Ozil is being linked with a return to the game, albeit not in the way many might have expected.
According to Bild, Turkey are preparing to reshuffle their national team set-up by sacking boss Stefan Kuntz and general manager Hamit Altintop.
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Kuntz is due to attend a meeting with the Turkish Football Federation on Wednesday to discuss his future. National team chiefs were recently left disappointed by a 4-2 friendly defeat to Japan during the international break.
Amid a deteriorating relationship with Turkey’s star midfielder Hakan Calhanogolu, Kuntz could be replaced by ex-Germany manager Joachim Low. Ozil, meanwhile, is being lined up to work alongside his former national team boss by becoming Turkey’s general manager.
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The Gunners hero featured under Low for the majority of his international career, playing a key part in Die Mannschaft’s World Cup triumph in 2014. Only time will tell whether they link up in Turkey as they bid for a place at Euro 2024.
Ozil was born in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, as the son of Turkish immigrants. He and Barcelona star Ilkay Gundogan caused a stir back in 2018 after being pictured with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Described as a modern-day dictator by his critics, Erdogan was even the best man at Ozil’s Istanbul wedding in 2019. The fallout from the controversial picture prompted the midfielder to call time on his international career early.
“I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect,” read part of his statement. “I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement but now I don’t.”
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