Ozil in talks on new con­tract, says agent

Mid­fielder wants to ex­tend stay in Eng­land Ger­man’s Ar­se­nal deal set to ex­pire in sum­mer

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Jeremy Wil­son

Me­sut Ozil’s agent has claimed that talks over ex­tend­ing the Ger­man’s con­tract at Ar­se­nal are pro­gress­ing, de­spite their seem­ingly in­ter­minable na­ture.

Dis­cus­sions about a con­tract – which ends next sum­mer – be­gan more than a year ago when Ozil’s sta­tus was higher. Now, with his client hav­ing played only seven min­utes in the club’s last six un­beaten games, Erkut Sogut has made en­cour­ag­ing noises. “Ozil wants to play an­other two to three years in the Pre­mier League,” he said. “Our con­tacts with Ar­se­nal con­tinue and are going in a pos­i­tive way.”

It is be­lieved that Ar­se­nal made of­fers ap­proach­ing £300,000 a week for Ozil to ex­tend his deal pre­vi­ously but, with his form hav­ing wa­vered and the team play­ing well with­out him, there must be some doubt over whether the club would still be will­ing to com­mit such a large chunk of their bud­get.

Man­ager Arsene Wenger has al­ways had huge faith in Ozil and, al­though he has gen­er­ally started him even after dis­pens­ing with the spe­cial­ist No 10 role in his new 3-4-2-1 sys­tem, there is in­creased

Fallen hero: Me­sut Ozil’s stock has fallen since talks be­gan more than a year ago

com­pe­ti­tion for only three at­tack­ing places. Ozil is in con­tention to re­turn fol­low­ing in­jury and start against Wat­ford on Saturday, but Danny Wel­beck is also avail­able and Theo Wal­cott is an­other com­pet­ing for a place with Alexan­dre La­cazette, Alexis Sanchez, Alex Iwobi and Olivier Giroud.

Ozil joined Ar­se­nal from Real Madrid in what was then a club-record £42.5mil­lion deal in Septem­ber 2013. De­spite en­ter­ing the last year of his con­tract, there were no big of­fers last sum­mer, al­though Be­sik­tas and Manchester United have looked at tak­ing him on a free trans­fer next year.

Ozil en­joyed a pro­duc­tive pe­riod un­der Jose Mour­inho at Madrid, al­though he was then part of a for­mi­da­ble at­tack that in­cluded Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and Karim Ben­zema.

Lau­rent Ko­scielny is pre­par­ing to ease Ar­se­nal’s in­jury prob­lems at cen­tre-back on Saturday by re­turn­ing de­spite only lim­ited first-team train­ing.

The France de­fender missed both re­cent in­ter­na­tion­als and has not played since Ar­se­nal’s 2-0 win against West Bromwich Al­bion more than two weeks ago due to an Achilles ten­don in­jury, but there is hope that the pe­riod of rest will be suf­fi­cient for him to start.

His re­turn is welcome as Shko­dran Mustafi is out after suf­fer­ing a thigh in­jury play­ing for Ger­many on Sun­day, while Sead Ko­lasinac went off in­jured dur­ing Bos­nia’s game on Tues­day, al­though he is likely to be fit for the week­end.

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