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Discussions between Mesut Ozil and Arsenal over a new contract have reportedly been stalled since February, according to Sport Bild (h/t Matt Stanger of ESPN FC).
Talks were placed on hold because of uncertainty over the future of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, per Bild (h/t the Metro). The veteran boss has signed a new deal at the Emirates Stadium in the summer, though the German playmaker has yet to follow suit.
Ozil has less than a year to run on his current contract and can discuss a pre-contract with clubs abroad in January, meaning he can potentially leave the Gunners for free at the end of 2017-18.
Stanger adds that according to the report, the offer initially made to Ozil by the club was a long way short of the £250,000-a-week the former Real Madrid man was looking for.
While there was speculation aplenty about the future of Alexis Sanchez over the summer—he too has less than a year to run on his deal—talk about Ozil’s position, whether that be signing a new contract or being sold, was pretty scarce.
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During his time as an Arsenal player there have been stints when the midfielder has been adored due to his technical ability, vision and creativity. However, as things stand, some supporters would argue against the assessment that he is one of the team’s key players, and some even doubt he’s worthy of a place in the starting XI.
Even so, there’s no denying the quality the Germany international possesses. As noted by Squawka Football, in what’s been a disappointing campaign for the Gunners so far, Ozil has still made them tick:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Most passes completed in the final third this season in Europe’s top 5 leagues:
M. Özil (125)
D. Silva (109)
Usual suspects. https://t.co/RyKGrjlvsl
In the 3-0 win over Bournemouth last time out for Arsenal, the 28-year-old was back to a level approaching his best.
After anonymous displays at Stoke City and Liverpool in the previous Premier League games, Ozil was at the hub of some sharp attacking play from the Gunners back in front of their home fans. When afforded time to pick up the ball in midfield pockets, there’s nobody better at prising defences open in the Premier League.
Journalist Lee Hurley pointed out the Arsenal man was doing his bit off the ball in the win against the Cherries too:
Lee Hurley @HLeeHurley
Can we just point out that was Mesut Ozil tackling and winning the ball back for Arsenal, total ly ignored by commentators as usual
The challenge for Ozil is not only finding these standards consistently, but doing so against strong opposition away from the comfort zone of the Emirates.
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Stoke and Liverpool made the match so frantic against Arsenal, the play passed Ozil by. His languid style in these otherwise chaotic contests can make him an easy target for critics, though he’s a player who so often leaves you wanting more.
Even so, he’s a unique footballer and one of the most inventive players in European football when on form. The Gunners will surely start contract negotiations again soon as a result to avoid losing him for nothing.