Arsène Wenger says Mesut Özil hasn’t agreed a deal with Barcelona, and that both player and manager are focused on doing well with Arsenal.
The latest rumours circulating this week were that Özil had been given permission by the Gunners to speak to Barcelona, ahead of a potential £20m move in January.
Wenger was asked about the rumours in his pre-Burnley press conference, and responded, “No [he has not agreed a deal with Barcelona].
“What kind of control can I have over that?
Nobody knows what will happen when the players reach the end of their contracts.
“All these people have agents who can talk to anybody. That doesn’t disturb people, that happens all through their career.
“They [Ozil and Alexis are honest. I don’t question their honesty.
“Nobody knows what will happen when the players reach the end of their contracts.
“Our worry is to perform on Sunday, that’s it.
“They want to turn up and put in good performances. I have no concerns. I am more concerned about the team performance.”
As you can see, even Arsene Wenger doesn’t know what is happening with the pair but seems to be expecting them to run down their contracts.
The original rumours did claim that it was Özil’s agent’s good relationship with Barcelona that increased the chances of a move, rather than the German himself. Dr Erkut Sogut has had dealings with the Catalan club in the past, so it’s always possible that he will again in January.
However, all the public statements we’ve had from Ozil’s agent suggest that things are going in the other direction. Sogut previously 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”.
Neither of those quotes suggest a move to Barcelona.
For now, as Wenger says, the team need to stay focused on their performances in the Premier League.
A win against Spurs was great for morale and keeping fans happy for a week, but it will become a lot less relevant if the Gunners lose to Burnley on Sunday.
Özil needs to be part of a team effort that prevents that from happening.