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What next for Mesut Ozil?

Ozil's contract is set to run out at the end of this season, what next for the German?

Feature 18 Nov 2017, 14:56 IST

Arsenal v Newcastle United - Premier League
Mesut Ozil has quite a decision to make

Mesut Ozil has now spent four years with Arsenal and it looks unlikely that the German will sign another contract with his current one ending this summer. So what next for the 29-year-old?

A possible destination for Ozil is Manchester United. Rumours have been circulating that he has already told his friends that he will move there after this season, even though he denied those claims on social media in his tweet below.

However, that tweet could just be the German appeasing Arsenal fans while remaining on good terms and having a deal in the pipeline with former boss Jose Mourinho. The two have made clear their admirations for each other as a player and as a boss since their time spent together at Real Madrid, meaning it will be no surprise if he does choose to move to Manchester this summer, especially given that United can easily afford high wages. Moreover, Ozil will cost no transfer fee.

When the Arsenal number 11 first signed for the club, Mourinho made a sweeping statement about the midfielder. “Ozil is unique. There is no copy of him, not even a bad copy. He is the best number 10 in the world,” said the current Manchester United boss. Could the deal be a match made in heaven?

Manchester United Training and Press Conference
Mourinho has publicly praised Ozil on more than one occasion

Furthermore, it could be the final piece of the puzzle in Mourinho’s quest to bring a league title back to the red side of Manchester. Although Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata have played as the creative midfielders for most of this season, they have both struggled in the number 10 position for creativity in recent weeks.

The German would arguably produce better statistics than Mata and Mkhitaryan if he was to play in front of a combination of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic in midfield. Matic helps offer United stability and Pogba would help Ozil create on the counter-attack, which is United’s typical style. This could help Ozil finally thrive in the Premier League and re-create the brief purple patch of form which he found up until Christmas in the 2014/15 season.

Arsenal v Stoke City - Premier League
Ozil got 19 assists and helped Arsenal retain the FA Cup in a successful 2014/15 season

Despite the attacking threat that Ozil would provide in Mourinho’s system, in theory the two are not the perfect match. Mourinho drills his teams to play in a system where every single player on the pitch, including the attackers, put in a defensive shift. This has been clear in his away games to Liverpool and Chelsea already this season, where the United boss has attempted to keep a clean sheet and score on the counter-attack.

Although being so defensive wasn’t successful on one occasion against Chelsea, for the majority of his career, playing like that in big games has always been his priority. If Ozil does decide to move to Manchester, he will have to comply with Mourinho’s defensive tactics.

Real Madrid CF v RCD Espanyol - La Liga
Ozil and Mourinho have had both good and bad times as player and coach

Other potential destinations for the creative midfielder include Barcelona, Fenerbahce and a host of clubs in China. It’s unknown whether the interest from Barcelona is completely concrete just yet, and it still seems too early for Ozil to make a move to either Turkey or China at 29-years-old. Although the Turkish Super Lig has become more competitive and it is a country where part of Ozil’s family is from, the German-born midfielder still has a lot to offer in one of Europe’s top five leagues.

If the interest from Barcelona is concrete, it could be a difficult move to make for him, due to the time he spent at Madrid. Los Blancos fans would be extremely disappointed to see the 29-year-old play for their bitter rivals, after the German became a fan favourite at the Bernabeu.

Ozil certainly has the ability to play for the Spanish side, as he showed at Madrid; he could be seen as a potential replacement for Andres Iniesta as the creator in midfield. However, would he be willing to suffer the abuse from Madridista’s for signing for a rival?

It seems somewhat unlikely if Arsenal miss out on Champions League and Alexis Sanchez leaves, but there is still the option of staying at Arsenal too. The German loves his life in London, and has experienced some impressive form in the Premier League. The problem has been that he hasn’t performed consistently enough, and his confidence has therefore suffered due to media and fan scrutiny.

This is not necessarily always his fault. He has become the scapegoat for Arsenal’s problems-- in the last two seasons especially. If the team performs badly, he is the one who receives the blame from both the fans and the media. The German can find it difficult sometimes if he isn’t receiving the service, and due to his languid style, it’s easy for Arsenal fans to pin the blame on the German for him supposedly not working hard enough.

Arsenal could still hold onto the German but if he decides to move to United, it could prove to be a sour ending between him and his current Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. 

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