Arsenal's primary source of inflated xG statistics, Mesut Ozil, gave an interview to the German-language Goal.com today. Although it primarily concerned the upcoming Euros and the German National Team, the 27-year-old did provide some thoughts about Arsenal, his form, and his contract negotiations. Here's what he had to say, with translation coming by way of Arseblog and Google Translate:
There are rumours linking you with Barcelona and delayed contract negotiations with Arsenal. Will you be playing in London next year?
There’s no hurry [on the contract]. I have two years left. At the end of the season we’ll see how it [the talks] go.
Arsenal are currently fourth in the table, is it a successful season given Leicester look like they’ll win the Premier League?
If we finish third and qualify directly for the Champions League [group stages] we’ll have at least achieved our minimum target. But this season it was possible to be champions, but we’ve left too many points on the table when playing smaller teams.
Would you have believed it if someone had said Leicester would be leading the table at this point?
I definitely would not have believed it. Nobody would have believed it. You can only take your hat off to Leicester. They’ve played every match giving 100% and are rightly at the top.
You were nominated for the Player of the Year award and are just two assists short of breaking the Premier League record, what do such accolades mean to you?
I’m proud of what I’ve done this season, but I never put the emphasis on personal awards, the team’s success is more important to me.
You’re 27 now, some of your teammates retired from the national team at 29 or ended their careers, have you given thought to what you’ll do after your playing career?
I hope I have a few more years to go. When I feel that I am playing my last season, I’ll have more concrete ideas, that when it’ll be the right time to think about itRight now would be the time. I enjoy that I have my hobby as a profession. What I know is that I will continue playing football after my career. Whether it’s in ‘the monkey cage’ [where he played in Gelsenkirchen as a child] or whatever, I couldn’t care less. I’ll never stop playing football.
Is there still a major career goal for you?
Privately, I think I’ll definitely return to Germany [to live]. There I feel at home, there’s my family. Sportingly, much is possible. I’m not saying that I definitely must again return to the Bundesliga or playing in Turkey. But I do not rule it out either. Maybe I’ll finish my career in England.
He certainly leaves the door open, but I still think the worries over "stalled" negotiations in the last couple of weeks are overblown. If there's a worry, it's over our inability to capitalize on the weakness of the current league and, likewise, his teammates' ability to take advantage of his terrific chance-creation rate and fire him well past that Premier League assist record. I think he will stay, but this summer could be a bit more nail-bitey than we'd have liked.