Arsenal’s Mesut Özil has been given permission to negotiate with Barcelona, according to latest reports in Spain.

Mundo Deportivo via Football.London claim that Ozil has already started to hold talks with the Catalan club over a possible £20m deal. They write that the midfielder’s agent, Dr Erkut Sogut, has a good relationship with Barcelona.

Barcelona have consistently been linked with the German over the past few months, with rumours even that Messi has asked the club to sign Özil over Coutinho.

However, a move to Spain would fly in the face of earlier comments from Sogut, who claimed that his client wanted to remain in the Premier League for “another two to three years”, and said that conversations with Arsenal were “going in a positive way”.

Holding talks with Barcelona before January even comes around, and therefore before Arsenal have a full opportunity to complete negotiations, would indicate neither of those claims are true.

If there’s one thing I’m fairly comfortable saying on the situation, it’s that Ozil is happy with life in London. I don’t think he has any strong desire to move away.

The problem is just getting contract terms up to the standard a player of his quality expects, and making sure the Arsenal project over the next few years matches his own.