Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has expressed serious doubts over Mesut Ozil staying at the Emirates beyond this season amid speculation of a move to Manchester United.
Talks with the playmaker over a new deal begun in March but have effectively stagnated since the summer.
Ozil has attracted attention from Jose Mourinho, who knows him well from their time at Real Madrid, as well as Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde.
And Wenger, when asked about the German’s predicament, implied that it was unlikely he would be an Arsenal player next season.
“I believe he wants to stay, he is not to be convinced (to sign a new contract),” he said.
“You want nobody to leave and you see where we stand on that. But at the moment, it’s very difficult. Until the end of the season we know what it is, but after that I cannot tell you.”
You almost feel bad for the Frenchman having to repeatedly answer these questions about his best player being on the brink of leaving Arsenal and, in turn, pushing his side even further away from the standard needed to make any meaningful challenge for the title.
But such is life, especially at the Emirates. Ozil has been sensational this season and supporters, haunted by the spectre of their best player joining up with Mourinho, are now flocking to shower him with adulation, but there comes a point in every man’s career when a change is needed and the German, now approaching 30, clearly feels as if the summer is the right time to move on.