Mesut Özil’s contract situation has taken a backseat to the Alexis Sánchez transfer/contract saga, but for those of you who aren’t aware, the German’s deal expires at the end of this season. There were reports over the summer that the two sides were moving towards an extension, but since then, there has not been much news.
Then today German outlet SportBild reported that there have been no contract talks between Arsenal and Özil since February. The paper suggests that at the time, the uncertainty surrounding Arsene Wenger’s future led to the club breaking off the negotiations and that they have not resumed.
A note: the report came to my attention via an ESPN UK report with the headline “Mesut Özil set to leave Arsenal...”. The original report from Germany says nothing about Özil’s plans beyond this season, nor does any of the secondary coverage in the British papers. It serves as a reminder to always take reports and rumors with a grain of salt and to take the extra few minutes to click through to check cited sources.
Mesut Özil is a great player. His vision, passing, and creativity is world-class. I’ve long thought that whatever his shortcomings may be, he needs to be on the field because all it takes is one touch, one moment of his brilliance and Arsenal are through on goal. There just aren’t many players in the world who can do what he does as frequently as he does it.
With Alexis likely leaving after this season, it is important that Arsenal retain Özil. Losing the club’s two best players on the field in the same summer would be difficult to recover from. Losing him on a free transfer would also hurt the club financially. Arsene Wenger has already said losing Alexis on a free would cost the club £140M. Even if we assume that Özil is worth less than the Chilean, the club is facing the prospect of losing more than £250M in value. That’s a scary prospect for a club that may not be in the best financial shape.
Let’s hope the two sides resume talks and come to an agreement.