Özil: "Maybe people don't like that I have a good contract?"
Arsenal are said to be open to the midfielder leaving the club, as are some supporters, but the German insists he will not be forced out.
Mesut Özil is adamant he will not leave Arsenal before his contract expires in 2021, insisting he is "going nowhere" despite struggling to convince Unai Emery.
Özil joined Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013 and for much of that time has been one of the Premier League's best attacking midfielders.
However, he has often had to contend with criticism of his style of play, personality and perceived lack of work ethic, while he made just 20 Premier League starts last term, seemingly not fitting into Emery's system.
Although he enjoyed a positive pre-season, Özil has played just twice this season in all competitions, his campaign disrupted by injury and when he was the target of an attempted armed robbery in London alongside team-mate Sead Kolasinac.
The combination of underwhelming form and criticism has seen transfer speculation increase, but Özil insists he will not be forced out before his contract finishes at the end of next season.
"I have a contract until the summer of 2021, and I will be staying until then," Ozil told The Athletic.
"When I signed the new deal [in January 2018], I thought about it very carefully and said it was one of the most important decisions of my footballing career.
"I didn't want to stay for just one or two more years, I wanted to commit my future to Arsenal and the club wanted me to do the same.
"You can go through difficult times, like this, but that is no reason to run away and I'm not going to. I'm here until at least 2021.
"I said that Arsene Wenger was a big factor in me joining Arsenal – and he was – but ultimately I signed for the club. Even when Arsene announced he was leaving, I wanted to stay because I love playing for Arsenal and that's why I've been here for six years.
"When I moved from Real Madrid, it was a really tough time for Arsenal, but I always believed in what we could do and together we delivered.
"More recently things have been difficult and a lot has changed, but I'm proud to be an Arsenal player, a fan and I'm happy here.
"Whenever people see me in the street I always say, 'This is my home'. I'm going nowhere."
Some have even gone as far as suggesting Özil gave up after signing a new contract, but such claims are baseless according to the Schalke youth product.
He said: "If that was true, why did I work so hard and positively during pre-season this year?
"And why, after the World Cup last year, did I return from holiday early for the first time in my career to start training three days before I was expected back?
"I did it for the new coach, the team and the club. Maybe people don't like that I have a good contract? I don't know or care."
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