German internationals İlkay Gündoğan and Mesut Özil were forced to meet with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and senior German football officials this week, after the pair caused uproar after being photographed with controversial Turkish leader Tayyip Erdoğan.
As reported by Reuters, the Premier League duo, both of whom are of Turkish descent, were pictured with Erdoğan in London on Sunday, where Gündoğan posed with a shirt reading "With respect for my president". It has been claimed that the players had no intent to make political statements ahead of the Turkish elections next month.
With relations between Turkey and the European Union strained due to the Turkish leader's heavy handed response to a failed military coup in 2016, the photographs were poorly received in Germany, with a number of onlookers taking to social media to air their concerns. With a World Cup on the horizon, a number of German football fans also called into question two of their key players.
Since their subsequent meeting with German officials, the players are believed to have reaffirmed their commitment to the country, while Steinmeier has claimed that it is important to recognise that people of mixed cultural backgrounds should be allowed to feel patriotic to more than one country.
Meanwhile, Özil's club Arsenal's chances of signing Bayer Leverkusen star Leon Bailey appear to have increased, after the Jamaican sensation was reported to have been spotted arriving in London. While the tenacious winger could just be enjoying some post-season relaxation, it is possible that the 20-year-old's visit has been in aid of pushing through a summer switch.