It’s easy to let the transfer window play tricks on you. For every Ornstein and Romano, there are a thousand other outlets and Twitter accounts aching to be the first to break the big news about a transfer. Take a half-credible source, throw in a rumor about big club and big-name player, and the internet will take care of the rest.
At Arsenal, few names loom as large as that of Mesut Ozil, a player emblematic of the last decade of Arsenal - a decade marked by decline, change, and uncertainty for the storied north London club. The out-of-favor midfielder is easy picking for any outlet that wants clicks. Since his falling out with Unai Emery and now Mikel Arteta, his discord with the club has made him a prime target for salacious articles at the club and player’s expense.
Entering one final transfer window before his inevitable exit this summer, the rumors are in full tilt once again, with the World Cup winner being linked to DC United and Turkish side Fenerbahce over the past two days.
Exclusive: Mesut Ozil is in negotiations with DC United.— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) January 5, 2021
The MLS side have offered an attractive package which will see the expansion of his M10 brand across the US.https://t.co/8o3oQTIT3V
BREAKING Mesut Ozil 'agrees Fenerbahce transfer' as he looks to end Arsenal nightmare https://t.co/P8urM23ZZ5 pic.twitter.com/KDiSslJYOj— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) January 6, 2021
These rumors have all but dominated the Arsenal transfer rumor conversation since they first surfaced 36 hours ago. Having strong ties to his native Turkey and having been previously linked to DC United in the past, these rumors didn’t need much help before they set Twitter ablaze. For what it’s worth, the Washington, D.C. local DCU beat writers say there is nothing to the links.
Couple these rumors with Arteta’s insistence has made it clear that he wants to clear out the dead wood from the club to make way for new signings, and they start to make much more sense. Mesut has been the biggest piece of dead wood on the pile for some time now, eating up a huge portion of Arsenal’s wage bill despite not seeing the pitch since March of 2020. I’m awful at math, and even I can see how it all adds up.
The low-hanging fruit of these rumors can often be too tantalizing to pass up (take it from me, folks). But the reality is that Ozil has no reason to exit the club. Many will point at a lack of playing time, but let’s be clear - Ozil, in his current situation, has all the cards. He makes an ungodly sum of money to be little more than a social media cheerleader for the club at this point, laughing all the way to the bank. The worse Arsenal perform, the more the media clamor for Arteta to insert him back into the lineup. The better they perform, the better he looks for his exceedingly positive support of the club. No matter the outcome, it is win-win for Mesut.
He isn’t going anywhere. He has numerous business interests including an esports franchise and a streetwear brand to occupy his time, his numerous charitable endeavors, not to mention a new wife and even newer child. If he wants to keep playing, he’ll get a new contract somewhere this summer; it’ll be worth less than the £350K-per-week he makes right now, but it will still be worth well over six figures. Would you risk injury and jeopardizing that next deal when you could just, well, not?
It is safe to say that many parties, the club and the player included, want to finally and mercifully move on from this situation. And for all we know, there could be genuine fire to all of this smoke. But for a player of Ozil’s visibility and notoriety, the rumors will continue until the ink has dried, regardless of their authenticity. At the end of the day, though, only one party has the ability to put it all to bed - Mesut Ozil.
As always, we will update this situation as more details emerge.