Arsenal stars Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac spent the day in hiding today after their team beat Newcastle 1-0 in a season opener they had to miss after being caught up in a vicious gang war.
Security are stationed outside the footballer’s homes in a 24-hour watch in response what a club source described as a ‘credible threat’.
A North London gang has reportedly vowed to take ‘everything they have’ from the players, despite – or perhaps due to – warnings from a rival Eastern European mob that the pair are ‘off limits’.
The gang feud began when the stars were targeted by car-jackers in north London last month.
They were ambushed by robbers as Ozil left his £3million home in a black Mercedes G-Class and chased through the mansion-lined streets of north London in a high-speed pursuit as attackers pelted the car with roof tiles to try and break the rear window.
Extraordinary security camera footage showed Kolasinac – nicknamed the Tank – confronting and facing down the offenders as they approached the car.
According to reports angry Eastern European gangsters offended by the incident put out word that the footballers were not to be touched, but rival underworld figures then ramped up their threats, promising to take ‘everything they have’ from the pair.
Security staff outside Mesut Ozil’s London home today as he and teammate Sead Kolasinac spent the day in hiding
Security outside Ozil’s home earlier today after he and Kolasinac were caught up in ‘security incidents’
On Friday two men were charged over a separate incident at Ozil’s home.
Both players have been left out of the squad for Arsenal’s opening Premier League fixture against Newcastle today.
According to reports, a group of Eastern European thugs vowed to protect the unwitting players after the moped raid last month.
A rival London gang took that as an effort to intimidate them and instead redoubled their efforts to target the players.
‘To show they were serious, the thugs issued more threats to the Arsenal players and refused to be cowed,’ a source said.
‘It was thought that originally the robbers wanted their watches but now they have been told that they want everything the pair have.’
There are also fears that the players may be targeted online.
Pictures showed Ozil’s gated house under guard while Kolasinac’s wife has reportedly left for Germany.
Arsenal stars Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac (pictured with their arms round each other, Ozil left) are under 24-hour guard after they were inadvertently caught in a North London gang war
n the car-jacking attack on July 25 the pair were ambushed by robbers as Ozil left his £3million home in a black Mercedes G-Class. Kolasinac is seen defending his team-mate
Mesut Ozil (dyed blonde hair) was pictured talking to officers outside Turkish restaurant Likya on Golders Green Road in north London after the car-jacking attack
In the car-jacking attack on July 25 the pair were ambushed by robbers as Ozil left his £3million home in a black Mercedes G-Class.
The players were chased through the mansion-lined streets of north London in a high-speed pursuit as attackers pelted the car with roof tiles to try and break the rear window.
Security camera footage showing Kolasinac, nicknamed the Tank, confronting the offenders after they approached Ozil’s car.
Neither midfielder Ozil, 30, nor defender Kolasinac, 26, were harmed.
Despite their terrifying ordeal Kolasinac posted a defiant picture of the pair smiling on Twitter, which was captioned, ‘Think we’re all fine’.
Kolasinac, a no-nonsense 6ft Bosnian international, was born in Germany to refugee parents who fled the hardships of the war in their Balkan homeland.
After their terrifying car-jacking ordeal Kolasinac posted a defiant picture of the pair smiling on Twitter, which was captioned, ‘Think we’re all fine’
A team of burly security guards – pictured earlier today – are now following the Arsenal pair everywhere they go
A further incident occurred on Thursday when two men were arrested after reportedly being involved in an altercation outside Ozil’s house.
Ferhat Ercan, 27, and Salaman Ekinci, 27, were charged under the Public Order Act the following day.
They are due to appear at Highbury Corner magistrates’ court on September 6.
Arsenal said they would not play against Newcastle on Sunday afternoon following ‘security incidents’.
Neither featured in the Emirates Cup defeat to Lyon the weekend after the carjacking scare, after talks with head coach Unai Emery.
‘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,’ a club spokesman said.
‘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.’