Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac will not be part of the Arsenal squad to play Newcastle tomorrow following ‘further security incidents’ which are being investigated by the police.
It comes two weeks after they were attacked by knife-wielding thugs on mopeds in north west London, and Sportsmail understands the pair have been targeted in further incidents near their homes over the past few days. Both players are said to be safe.
Footage of the suspected carjacking attempt showed Kolasinac jumping out of Ozil’s car to fight off the two men. Both avoided injury and played in the club’s final pre-season friendly against Barcelona but in a statement last night, Arsenal confirmed that neither would travel to St James’ Park.
‘The welfare of our players and their families is always a top priority,’ said the club. ‘We have taken this decision following discussion with the players and their representatives. We are liaising with the police and are providing the players and their families with ongoing support.
‘We look forward to welcoming the players back to the squad as soon as possible.’
In the aftermath of the attack, both Ozil, 30, and Kolasinac, 26, had been training at the club’s London Colney base. They also took part in a pre-season photoshoot this week.After Kolasinac tried to fight off the attackers, who had their faces hidden by helmets and were riding mopeds apparently without registration plates, the players were believed to be pursued.Arsenal offered the players psychological support following the attack. Manager Unai Emery also spoke to them both, and was expected to select them to face Newcastle away tomorrow.Ozil and Kolasinac were not the first London-based footballers to be targeted on the road. In 2016, West Ham striker Andy Carroll was threatened at gunpoint on his wayhome from training.Daily Mail