After Mesut Ozil signed his bumper three-and-a-half year contract extension, worth £350k-a-week, in February last year, it seemed that rumours surrounding the German’s future could finally be put to bed.
That hasn’t been the case, however, with new boss Unai Emery repeatedly leaving the Arsenal top-earner out of the starting XI.
Having been frozen out of the Gunners’ team, due to a combination of injuries and ‘tactical reasons’, Arsenal could look to cash in on the ex-Germany international and remove his astronomical pay packet from their wage bill.
With that in mind, here are some possible destinations for Arsenal’s number ten this January transfer window.
5. Manchester United
While transfers between top clubs in England is rare, Arsenal and Manchester United have history, the most recent of which involving the swap between Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
With the likes of Juan Mata not getting any younger, Mesut Ozil could fit the role of number ten at Old Trafford. However, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having taken temporary charge, splashing the cash to acquire Ozil’s services may not be their top priority at present.
Furthermore, the slow, lethargic football played under Mourinho desperately cried out for pace and intensity, something Ozil’s explicitly lacks.
4. Real Madrid
Ozil announced himself on the world stage thanks to his performances for Germany at the 2010 World Cup, resulting in Real Madrid signing the player from Werder Bremen that year.
He spent three assist-filled seasons at the Bernabau, before moving to Arsenal for £42.5m in 2013. During his time at Madrid, he stated that he would like to “end” his career at Real Madrid, a wish that could be granted as Real’s spending power knows no ends.
A return to Madrid could prove a great move for all parties involved, with many Real fans believing Ozil left too early, while the 30-year-old need not worry about acclimatising to a new club – should he go back for a second spell.
Italian giants Inter have been linked with Ozil in the past, and were one of a number of clubs that expressed an interest in the German prior to him signing his extension at Arsenal.
The Mirror reports that Emery has gone as far as to offer Ozil to I Nerazzurri, as he desperately looks to free up some funds for him to sign players this window, as opposed to the loans he stated are his only option in January.
As someone who accused his own national side of racism, before retiring from the German national team, Ozil might not be too enthused by Inter’s recent stadium ban for such abhorrent behaviour. However, he could certainly make an impression at the San Siro if he were to join the Italian giants.
Of Turkish-origin, Ozil has previously stated he is in fact a Fenerbahce fan, and has been quoted as saying he would one day like to play in the Super Lig.
While his wage demands and the transfer fee required would likely be out of Fenerbahce’s reach, it would grant the player a move he’s wanted, as well as an escape from the Emirates stands, where he’s spent most of the season.
With teammate Aaron Ramsey all but certain to make the move to Turin in the summer, the same report from The Mirror claims that Emery has told the Juventus hierarchy that Ozil is up for grabs too.
Due to their similar traits and position on the pitch, Ozil and Ramsey often find themselves featuring for Arsenal at different times. However, with Juventus so dominant in Serie A, they are free to play more creative players at any given time, thus allowing for the two players to possibly thrive together.
That said, there are plenty of other world class talents in that squad Ozil would need to overthrow first.