Mesut Ozil all smiles in first Arsenal pre-season training session

“This is the saddest thing to read as an athlete, and more importantly as a human being,” said Sania Mirza as she came out in support of Mesut Ozil

Erdogan is a controversial figure and his get-together with Ozil and Gundogan came at a time when several German citizens were being held on political charges as part of a crackdown on free speech in Turkey.

A group of German journalists descended upon the club's training base at the Singapore American school and Emery found himself delicately balancing his words in his second language as he navigated the choppy waters of global diplomacy.

The club will be hoping that the affection for Ozil will make the German feel like he is returning to what his manager describes as "normality".

"For him it´s one thing with the national team and another with us", Emery said.

"Training has been good and Emery has been a major influence to what we are doing on the training ground". As a team that's all we can do.

"We are expecting good matches against Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid".

Arsenal forward Reiss Nelson and midfielder Alex Iwobi sat alongside Ozil at the fan event in Singapore. Emery has not held private talks with Ozil over his worldwide situation, with the Spaniard taking the view that it is better to give the player "normality" rather than create an even bigger fuss.

That approach appears to have done little to address the problem head-on, although the larger issues at play have not escaped the attention of many others, typified by Justice Minister Katerina Barley's tweet that it was "an alarming sign when a footballer like Mesut Ozil feels no longer wanted in his country and unrepresented by the DFB". He is very nice every day and training well with his team-mates.

The 36-year-old Czech said: "I'm not in a position to really comment on that, it's a private personal matter for Mesut against the German Federation". Emery is keen to appoint five captains, which is a model followed by clubs including Barcelona in Spain, but is yet to announce his chosen leaders. I am sure he is going to have a big season with us.

"He is a key player for us so obviously he is the main candidate [to become captain]".

"I think that's a question for the manager, but as I said, he is one of the most experienced players and he is a world champion".



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