As Arsenal try to get rid of Mesut Ozil while the German shows no sign of leaving and no clubs want to match his wages, let’s look at the reason Arsene Wenger gave for offering him £350kpw in the first place.
Speaking at the start of 2019, Arsene Wenger said that it would have cost the club ‘£100m’ to buy a player like Ozil when he was asked about the German as he picked up another Lifetime Achievement Award.
“I feel that the length of the contract has nothing to do normally with the selection of the team. But sometimes there are special cases,” Wenger said after he was honoured at the Laureus World Sports Awards.
"Sport is tremendous, I had a long career but my passion for sport is intact, my passion for human beings is intact."
He changed football and still considered a mentor by the world stars who played for him.
— Laureus (@LaureusSport) February 18, 2019
“Most of the time now we think when we sign a player for five years we have a good player for five years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they practice, they play their best. Because they might be in their comfort zone.
“He has a contract but the problem is that if you want to buy a player like him you have to spend £100m.
“And to maintain the value of the player, beyond the Ozil case, it is more about the way football is structured.
“To buy players of top, top quality you need £100m. So the decision you have to make is whether you re-sign the player, who costs us nothing, or do we have the money to buy a new player?”
With Mikel Arteta saying he left Mesut Ozil out of the squad for the game against Manchester City for ‘tactical’ reasons, a reason often given by Unai Emery that many of us scoffed at, we do now have to ask if the player really is the problem. I love Ozil, I don’t want it to be him, but it’s hard to see what else it could be at this point.
I’m fairly certain I read an interview with Wenger in which he said that he didn’t want the club to give Ozil £350kpw in his new deal but I can’t find it so I’m not sure if I dreamed it or not.
Either way, unless we see a spectacular change in form from the German, it seems his time at Arsenal is coming to a sad but expensive end.
For the record, at £350kpw for five years, Ozil’s contract will have cost Arsenal a total of £91million.