Rumours surrounding Mesut Ozil never fade but there seems something different around recent Inter Milan links, so are the club really thinking about selling him?

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal looks on prior to the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at Vitality Stadium on November 25, 2018 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 25: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal looks on prior to the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at Vitality Stadium on November 25, 2018 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Less than a year ago we all wondered if Mesut Ozil would still be an Arsenal player in 2018.

After being made the club’s highest ever paid player, the men who sanctioned Ozil’s latest contract are gone from the club and the German keeps vanishing.

The most recent official story was a back injury but conspiracy stories abound. While I don’t believe he stormed out of training after being told he was not going to start the north London derby, I can’t shake the feeling something is certainly up.

Unai Emery has been as frank as he seems capable of being when he said he expects Ozil to work harder. We can read nothing into Emery making Ozil one of his five captains because he did the same with Aaron Ramsey whom we all know is set for a summer exit.

Arsenal need to cut their wage bill – that’s why they are letting Ramsey go. Any new deal for the Welshman would come with a hefty increase on his weekly salary while a large signing-on bonus is also required. The club can’t afford it.

Can they, then, afford to pay Ozil £350,000-per-week for the next 133 weeks?

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal celebrates after he scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Leicester City at Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 22: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal celebrates after he scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Leicester City at Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Of course, questions need to be asked about why the club would sanction the deal in the first place if they were not prepared to commit to it for its duration or if they knew they couldn’t afford it.

Desperation seems the obvious answer given the state of the club at the time, the unrest amongst fans and the fact that Alexis Sanchez was off to Manchester United.

They could afford to lose Ozil last January less than they could afford his wages it seems. Arsene Wenger’s last hurrah in his attempts to turn things around and get the fans back on side.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 28: Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal (R) and Ivan Gazidis, CEO of Arsenal (L) in discussion as they sit in the stands prior to the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Arsenal and Olympiacos at the Emirates Stadium on September 28, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 28: Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal (R) and Ivan Gazidis, CEO of Arsenal (L) in discussion as they sit in the stands prior to the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Arsenal and Olympiacos at the Emirates Stadium on September 28, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Moving Ozil up to the £300kpw bracket has reduced the number of clubs now able to pay his wages to around five (Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG). From that list perhaps only one or two would consider signing him at that price (United and PSG).

In short, if Arsenal weren’t intending on keeping him, they’ve made it very difficult to get rid.

But who do you ask these questions of?

Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis are gone and you’ll have to go some way to convince me Stan Kroenke could pick the midfielder out of a lineup. Kroenke and the board, paralysed by Wenger’s reputation for so long, trusted the Frenchman’s opinion. Wenger wanted to re-sign him, and, along with Gazidis, they all signed off on the deal.

78 days later Arsene Wenger announced he was leaving.

We’re now well into December.

Arsenal have played 27 games so far this season and their highest earner and talisman has played just 1,077 minutes. He’s played the full 90 just six times.

All seems less than well.

Driving the Mesut Ozil to Inter Milan rumours are the tabloids, of course.

The S*n

This latest Inter rumour seems to have started a few weeks ago with an EXCLUSIVE in the S*n by a reporter called Dean Scroggins who, according to his Twitter account, is a Spurs fan. Deputy head of their sports department, he doesn’t appear to have a history covering Arsenal so you do have to wonder how this EXCLUSIVE fell in his lap.

To sign Ozil Inter are going to have to smash their wage structure and pay the 30-year-old more almost five times what they pay their captain Mauro Icardi who is their highest earner on €85kpw (approx. £77k).

Does that sound likely? It’s why I didn’t include them in the list of clubs who can afford to pay his wages above.

Mauro Icardi, Inter’s captain, earns less than one-third of Mesut Ozil’s wages

Sure, Inter won’t have a transfer fee to pay if they wait until the summer but this recent report claims Arsenal want to sell him for £25m in January.

Inter have paid that amount or more for a player eight times but only one was 30 or even close to it (Radja Nainggolan from Roma for £34.2m). They didn’t then pay him £350kpw.

When I started this post I wasn’t sure that Arsenal would consider selling Ozil but now I’ve got to the end I can’t say the same.

As much as I love the German, it does feel as if something has to give and it looks like it could be his place in the squad.

If Arsenal can find a willing buyer, that is.