Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil emerges as a target for Barcelona, say reports in Spain
The German's contract runs down in 2018 and might not sign a renewal
Mesut Ozil’s form for Arsenal in the 2015/16 Premier League season has made him a prime target for Spanish giants Barcelona. The German is the most creative midfielder in Europe, having created a staggering 99 chances so far, and the Catalans are eyeing his purchase to augment their creative options in the summer.
According to a report in Spanish daily Marca, Ozil has rejected Arsenal’s offer of a new deal, and has allegedly informed the Gunners that he’d like to leave the North London club in the summer. Ozil’s representatives were contacted by German newspaper Bild, who responded saying “It is known and correct that Arsenal want to extend their contract with Mesut.”
“It is also correct that there are enquiries for him constantly. Mesut is a World Cup winner, the most creative player in Europe, Germany's top player - of course other top teams are interested.”
Ozil has been in sparling form this season, racking up 16 assists before the turn of the year, but as his personal form has tailed off, so has his club’s, with Arsenal faltering in their title challenge, with a pivotal game against Leicester City in the offing.
Broken promises reason for departure
Mesut Ozil arrived at Arsenal for a club record £42.5 million fee, the subject of a deadline day coup that saw Gareth Bale's purchase pave the way for his departure from Real Madrid. After a disappointing couple of seasons, Ozil has set the Premier League alight, becoming Arsenal's central creative force as they mount a Premier League challenge.
It is the Champions League, however, where Ozil's concerns lie. According to the report in Marca, Ozil was promised that Arsenal would have a squad capable of winning the Champions League by this season; although the reality is that the Gunners are heavily disfavoured in their tie against Barcelona.
As such, the Catalans are keen on registering their interest, given that they previously passed on an opportunity to sign the German in 2010, with Pep Guardiola opting against bringing in Ozil so as to not hinder Thiago’s dvelopment. With Ozil’s contract winding down in 2018, the German is a viable target, but Barcelona have a couple of stumbling blocks before them.
The biggest would be Arsenal’s reluctance to sell a prized asset, as the Gunners aren’t in need of money, given the Premier League’s bumper TV rights deal. In addition, Barcelona’s transfer priority is a central defender and a fullback, and signing Ozil would only be a luxury purchase, given Barcelona’s plethora of creative options.