Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has today opened up on the reports linking Gunners star Mesut Ozil with a move to Premier League rivals Manchester United.
Ozil, who splits opinion among both fans and pundits due to his languid style on the pitch, has been at the Emirates stadium since 2013, when he arrived from Real Madrid for 50 million Euro.
He has since gone on to rack up impressive assist numbers for the Gunners, though the club’s recent resurgence with their star German sidelined through injury has led sections of Arsenal fans to question whether they could be better off without the talented 28-year-old.
With Ozil’s contract in North London set to expire next summer, and no signs forthcoming as of yet that he has any intention of renewing his deal, lining up without the 2014 World Cup winner could become a permanent reality for Arsenal in the not-so-distant future.
A number of clubs are said to maintain an interest in coaxing Ozil away from the Emirates, whether it be on a free transfer next summer, or in a cut-price deal in January.
Serie A giants Inter Milan made their interest in the gifted midfielder public last month, while Turkish outfit Fenerbahce are known to be long-term admirers of the talents of Ozil.
Old Trafford bound?
However, undoubtedly the most surprising side touted as a potential destination for Ozil have been Arsenal’s fierce Premier League rivals Manchester United.
Reports linking the Red Devils with a move for the Gunners star first arose during the summer, when several outlets claimed that the German had given his word to the Manchester giants on a free transfer next year.
These rumours have once again come to the fore today, with the Mirror insisting that Ozil has informed his teammates in North London that he is indeed ready to depart for Manchester.
A question of commitment
Speaking in a press conference following his side’s 1-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade last night, Arsene Wenger responded to questions surrounding Ozil’s proposed switch to Old Trafford, with the Frenchman explaining:
‘We have to deal with all kinds of speculation when the players are at the end of their contracts.’
‘On the other hand, to be professional is to give 100 per cent as long as you are somewhere. For the rest, we came out many times and said that’s the situation.’
‘It [the media] can come out tomorrow and say that he (Ozil) extends his contract here. It will be exactly the same, it will not change anything. When you play the next game, commit 100 per cent.’
‘I believe that at the moment I just focus on what is the best possible team for the next game and have no pre-conceived ideas if the guy will be 100 per cent committed or not.’
‘That would be unfair on my side, because you don’t have any opinion about that. When a player plays for Arsenal Football Club, his commitment cannot be linked with the length of his contract, it has just to be linked with the responsibility and the ambition he has to win the football game.’