Now a couple of months into the final year of his contract with the Gunners, we still have no idea if Mesut Özil is planning to stick around after this season.
The whole way through the 2016/17 season, the question was asked repeatedly of Arsène Wenger, and the manager responded that it wouldn’t be resolved until the end of the season. Then, in the summer, Özil was asked directly, and told reporters (via The Guardian): “It is definitely my preference to stay.
“It is such a great club and I have always said that I feel very good at Arsenal. Once everyone is back in London, we will sit down and discuss about the future.”
A couple of months later, and we still haven’t had any developments, despite Mesut being back in London for a while. Arsène Wenger gave an update in mid-September, explaining that they were back to focusing on the football (via Independent): “The contract talks have slowed down a little bit since August 31, because we need a little breather and to focus on the competition. But we will slowly get back into that.”
Özil’s agent, Dr Erkut Sogut, got involved next, telling reporters this week: “Özil wants to play another two to three years in the Premier League. Our contacts with Arsenal continue and are going in a positive way.”
When asked whether things were really going so positively, at his pre-match press conference ahead of Watford at the weekend, Arsène Wenger responded: “That is my understanding. The fact we didn’t agree last year doesn’t mean he wants to leave.
“Both players (Alexis and Özil) look happy and overall I hope the situation can be turned round, but at the moment we are not close enough to announce anything. Talks are going well.”
Then, when he was asked if Arsenal would consider selling Özil and Alexis in January, Wenger said: “Once you are in our kind of situation you have envisaged every solution, yes? It’s possible.”
None of that completely rules out the German leaving in the next couple of windows, although the sense I get is that they’re on the right track.
However, until we hear from Özil, his agent, or Wenger that things have started to go south (or that he wants a ‘new challenge’ or similar), I’m going to remain positive.