Arsenal were left in a vulnerable position during the summer as the club had allowed a number of key players to enter the final year of their contract. Alexis Sanchez has been the focus of a lot of the headlines, but Mesut Ozil is another who has less than 12-months to run on his current deal. There wasn’t much speculation about him during the recent transfer window and there was a belief that he would sign a new deal. However, the Independent report that Manchester United want to sign him on a Bosman when his contract expires.
According to the report, Jose Mourinho is confident of landing the German international based on their previous working relationship at Real Madrid. They arrived at the Bernabeu in the same summer and Ozil thrived under the Portuguese manager. It is thought that they remain on good terms with Mourinho writing the foreword for the player’s recent autobiography. The Unites boss is popular with the players that he coaches and he could be set to take advantage of another good relationship, as he did last summer with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Despite the poor reputation that he has in the English media, Ozil remains an excellent player and one that has been hindered by the environment created at Arsenal. There has been an overwhelming pressure on him and Sanchez to deliver success, which has led to a sharp eye being cast over his personal contributions. This season, he has yet to contribute a single goal or an assist, but his underlying stats underline his quality.
The German is averaging 3.64 chances created and 2.18 attempted shots per ninety minutes. To provide context, Kevin de Bruyne is regarded as the leading creative midfielder in the Premier League and Ozil is producing better numbers than him. The Manchester City midfielder is currently averaging 3.57 chances created 2.08 attempted shots per ninety minutes. The caveat to these stats is that the Arsenal man has played over 200 fewer minutes than the Belgian, but that has been down to an injury rather than his own failings.
Currently, Arsenal are in a bad spot as they are the only top-six team not competing in the Champions League and the supporters are unconvinced by the management of Arsene Wenger. The atmosphere at matches is tense and despite this, Ozil continues to produce consistency in his attacking contribution. His failure to get a goal or an assist is a combination of bad luck and poor finishing from his team-mates, rather than his own underperformance.
During his long managerial career, Mourinho has regularly got the best out of his players and Ozil could benefit from playing under the United boss again. At Real Madrid, the German international contributed an incredible 47 assists across three La Liga campaigns with Mourinho. The Portuguese manager knows how to get the best from the player and there is a place for the 28-year-old in the current system at Old Trafford.
Although he wouldn’t start every game, there would be an opportunity to use Ozil as a number ten ahead of Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba. There would be a license for him to focus on creating chances for a front-line composed of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku. That is an incredible front six and at the age of 28, the current Arsenal player still has the capability of competing at the highest level for a number of years yet.
Manchester United are reaching a place where they can be considered a title challenger and a force in Europe. They need to continue to strengthen their squad in order to continue their progression. A move for Ozil on a free transfer is a no-brainer as he is an excellent player and one that Mourinho knows well. The United boss will want to increase competition and send a statement that they are once again an elite club. A move for a World Cup winner from a rival club certainly does that.