Mesut Ozil has made it clear that he is “100 per cent an Arsenal player” amid speculation of a potential move to Manchester United next summer.
Talks between the German playmaker and Arsenal over a new contract were expected to be concluded by the summer but haven’t progressed since March.
Reports have suggested that Jose Mourinho, who developed a strong working relationship with Ozil at Real Madrid, has expressed interest in signing the 29-year-old for free next summer, while Arsene Wenger has admitted that he could leave.
But Ozil, when asked about the rumours, made it clear that he was currently very happy at Arsenal but refused to rule out a future move away.
“Obviously people are going to write and speculate,” he said. “But I am 100 per cent an Arsenal player.”
“I want to perform here and have fun here. I’m enjoying my time here but I can’t say what will happen in the future
“I generally don’t assess my own games. My objective is to bring my performance onto the pitch and help the team. So I let the others talk. It’s important for me to have fun on the field and be successful.
“Having high expectations on one hand is an honour because it shows people exactly what I can do and what I am.
“On the other hand, it’s of no interest to me. As I’ve said in the past, what’s most important to me is what the coach thinks.”
We should take what Ozil says at face value, I believe, but this shouldn’t then imply that he has ruled out leaving next summer altogether.
Somebody can be happy with where they are and what they are doing but still feel like moving elsewhere is indeed the best call. Perhaps this is the very notion Ozil is currently entertaining in his head. It would certainly go some way to explaining the protracted – or possibly even stagnant – nature of his talks with the club over a new deal.
At the age of 29, he will most likely receive just one more big contract in his career, and he isn’t rushing to choose the right one.