Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said he is still hopeful of Mesut Ozil agreeing a new contract at the Emirates Stadium.
The German’s current deal is set to run out at the end of the campaign, meaning he is free to field offers from clubs outside the Premier League with a view to a move in the summer on a pre-contract.
However, while Wenger admitted Alexis Sanchez is poised to depart, he was much more positive about the future of Ozil, as well as Jack Wilshere, per Mattias Karen of ESPN.
“There is still an opportunity for [Ozil] to stay,” he said. “That’s very much open. It looks like Sanchez will not extend his contract. But we want to keep Jack, and we have an opportunity maybe to keep Ozil. So the rebuild will be less deep than if all three left.”
As reported by Sam Dean of the Daily Telegraph, Manchester United have been linked with a move for the former Real Madrid playmaker.
Per Mark Ogden of ESPN FC, the Red Devils are also said to be seriously interested about signing Sanchez in January for a deal worth a possible £40 million, with Manchester City unwilling to pay more than £20 million.
Of the two Arsenal stars, journalist Liam Canning suggested United should be channeling their interest into getting a deal done for Ozil:
While Sanchez is an extraordinary player, there aren’t many footballers in the world as gifted as Ozil when he’s at his best.
For much of this season, he’s been in top gear too. Ozil can knit together attacks with such impudence he makes the game appear easy. The midfielder can take the ball in tight spaces, can ghost past markers and is reliable with his final ball.
He’s the type of player that improves others around him. Jack Pitt-Brooke of The Independent believes both Ozil and Sanchez have been let down by team-mates in recent years:
It’s why the Chilean is almost certain to move on either in January or at the end of the campaign, and the calibre of clubs linked with Sanchez is not a surprise.
Given the way in which he’s been playing recently, what has been surprising is the lack of speculation surrounding Ozil. With that in mind, Arsenal supporters will be clinging to some slender hope that the 29-year-old may yet extend his stay at the Emirates Stadium.
As these numbers from WhoScored.com illustrate, if Ozil was to leave the club, then he’d leave a huge void of creativity:
Clearly, the situation is far from ideal for Arsenal, as no club of their calibre should be in such a perilous position regarding their two key players. To lose one will be disappointing, but to lose both would be a catastrophe.
Ozil has yet to be part of an Arsenal team that has made a major challenge for the Premier League title, and while he’s been inconsistent at times, the German has been a long way down on the side’s list of issues. It’s why if a lucrative offer from a major club does come in, few would blame him for embarking on a new challenge.
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