Barcelona are reportedly preparing a summer assault on former Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil as doubts linger over his future at Arsenal.
According to Marca, the Germany international has lost faith in the Gunners’ ability to compete with the best clubs in Europe and will not accept the club’s proposal of a contract extension beyond 2018.
Subsequently, the newspaper claims Ozil may be cashed in sooner rather than later, to the extent that Barca have already made contact with the player to learn his intentions.
Despite his reported unhappiness, however, he leads the Premier League assist charts with 16 – ten more than nearest challenger Riyad Mahrez – and could yet end the season as an English champion and Champions League winner.
Furthermore, Arsenal are not expected to give in easily and want him to stay put for the rest of his career so he can guide their next wave of talent, while Barca have prioritised a new centre-back and attacker, even if the opportunity is too good to miss.
Ozil was reportedly close to joining Barca from Werder Bremen after the 2010 World Cup, but Pep Guardiola felt his arrival would burden the progress of Thiago Alcantara, who would follow the Coach to Bayern Munich in 2013.
He ultimately moved to Madrid for €15m and enjoyed three successful campaigns under Jose Mourinho, before Los Blancos’ decision to sanction the world-record signing of Gareth Bale prompted a €42m switch to the Emirates Stadium.