AFP PHOTO

Arsenal stars Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac will miss their side’s Premier League opener at Newcastle on Sunday after “further security incidents” involving the pair, the north London club announced.

Ozil and Kolasinac were caught in an attempted car-jacking in the English capital last month, with the defender leaping from the vehicle to confront the knife-wielding raiders while the former Germany international sped off to safety.

A statement from Arsenal on Friday said: “Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac will not be part of the squad for our opening match against Newcastle United following further security incidents which are being investigated by the police.”

Neither featured in the Emirates Cup pre-season defeat against Lyon just days after the initial incident, with Arsenal manager Unai Emery admitting they had not been in the right frame of mind after the terrifying confrontation.

Ozil’s G-Wagon was blocked by the moped-riding thugs, who then brandished weapons before Kolasinac forced them to back off while locals near his home in the Childs Hill area of the city came to the pair’s aid.

Ozil and his wife found safety at a Turkish restaurant, whose owner Yasmin Tahsimer revealed: “He called me while they were being chased and said ‘come out, call the police please’.

“When they were chasing Ozil’s car they were throwing big bricks at it and using a long metal pole. They damaged the car. The wives were inside and were frightened and scared.”

German midfielder Ozil and Bosnian left-back Kolasinac had both featured in Arsenal’s final friendly at Barcelona and were expected to be in contention to face Newcastle at St James’ Park.

The suggestion of new incidents involving the players will be hugely concerning and the statement added: “The welfare of our players and their families is always a top priority and 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.

“We will not be making any further comment on the matter.”

Arsenal are believed to have increased security around the duo following the incident, while World Cup winner Ozil had also hired minders to protect his property.

Kolasinac and Ozil were not the first footballers to be targeted on London’s streets.

In 2016, Andy Carroll, a former West Ham player now at Newcastle, was threatened at gunpoint on his way home from training.

SOURCEAFP
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