Following the dramatic attempted carjacking that threatened the well-being of Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac, the pair has returned after a short leave of absence regarding fears for their safety, but concerns remain as the two have become targets for gang violence in London.
Two men were arrested outside Ozil’s house towards the end of last week, causing the two to withdraw from the Arsenal squad for the opening match of the Premier League season against Newcastle United over further safety concerns. The two men were caught in a scuffle with the posted security detail which has been provided for 24-hour protection of both Gunners players.
The Telegraph reports that a second threat was made in the wake of the attempted carjacking, and the building concerns led to their withdrawal from the weekend’s matchday squad. According to The Evening Standard, Ozil’s new wife, Bella – whom he just married this spring – has flown home to Germany in the wake of the threats as the Gunners’ playmaker looks to keep his family out of harm’s way. Kolasinac also reportedly sent his wife home, along with his dog after the initial attack.
It is troubling that players feel they must withdraw from work in order to feel safe, and have sent their loved ones away. The gang violence targeting the Arsenal pair began, as The Athletic insinuates, as Ozil went out with his wife and Kolasinac to buy his new bride a watch. The trio was followed home and attacked outside Ozil’s house, and Kolasinac bravely fended off the knife-wielding aggressors with his bare hands as they looked to steal the newly purchased valuable. This seemed to anger the gang, and further threats have been made in the wake of the initial attack as they hope to avenge the failed assault.
The Athletic report discusses Ozil’s love for life in London, and thus the attack must feel like a personal attack from a city he has poured out his heart to. It remains to be seen what affect this could have on the future of either player at Arsenal, especially if their families no longer wish to reside in a city that no longer feels safe.