Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is being linked with a January exit to Major League Soccer that could bring his time at the Emirates Stadium to a close after seven-and-a-half years in north London.
Ozil is in the final year of a £350,000 per week contract that, until Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed new £375,000 terms over summer, made him the highest paid player in Arsenal history.
Yet the 32-year-old, who won the World Cup with Germany at the end of his first season with the Gunners, has not played so far in 2020/21. He last played for the club in March, not featuring at all during ‘Project Restart’ or the latter stages of the victorious FA Cup run.
With Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta very much focused on building a fresh future, it has become abundantly clear that Ozil has no place at the club. As a result, he has been left out of the 25-man squad for both the Premier League and Europa League.
Ozil cannot therefore play for Arsenal again until January when alterations are permitted.
Ozil was initially linked with an MLS move in late 2019 when it was rumoured he was open to the idea. The league’s own official website even speculated over potential clubs he could join, highlighting D.C. United, LA Galaxy, Philadelphia Union and Inter Miami as possible destinations.
The MLS rumour surfaced again earlier this month as attention turned to talks between Ozil and Arsenal about cancelling the final six months of his contract in January.
The Daily Star now reports that those talks have yet to yield an agreement, but explains that MLS clubs are still ‘keen’ on Ozil and D.C. United in particular are interested in signing him.
D.C. United, who won three of the first four MLS Cups in the 1990s, have started to struggle again since losing Wayne Rooney at the end of 2018 and any such move for Ozil in January would be perfect timing for him to join ahead of the 2021 season, scheduled to begin in March.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed confusion as to why Ozil has been frozen out by the Gunners, suggesting there is more to it than sporting reasons.
“Mesut Ozil is an exceptional football player. What’s happening at the moment between him and the club looks to be more confrontational, it’s not [only] based on sport, I’m convinced,” Wenger told Sky Sports this week.
“This guy has won things. He’s a world champion, he’s an exceptional football player. Why is he not playing at the moment? I don’t know. When you’re a football player you have to respect the decision of your manager and fight to get your confidence.”