According to Mikel Arteta, Mesut Özil’s future will be determined in the next few days, although the Arsenal boss admits that he does not yet know how or when the saga involving his exiled playmaker will end.
There is little doubt that Özil has played his last game for the club, whose contract expires in the summer, and both parties are keen to put a soured relationship behind them that has cast a costly shadow. In this transfer window, Özil was connected with Fenerbahce and DC United, although on Wednesday his agent, Erkut Sogut, said that the priority of the player was to “stay until the end of the season”
“I say we will decide in the next few days what will happen,” Arteta said when asked if Özil will stay at the club. “I don’t know what will happen. Obviously he is now free to negotiate with other clubs. We will discuss internally what is the best solution for him for the near future, obviously also with the player and his agent, and try to find the best solution for everyone.”
The logistics surrounding the departure of Özil this month are likely to be difficult, as none of his takers could equal his weekly pay of £ 350,000.
For the former German international, a simpler choice would be to commit to moving when his contract ends, but that would mean that Arsenal would have to retain a player who in October was not in Arteta’s Premier League and Europa League squads.
“If something is clarified this month, it’s good for both parties, it’s good for Mesut and his future, and it’s good for the club,” said Arteta. We will proceed if that is the case.
If that isn’t the case, the player remains here.
Concerning the exclusion of Özil, which could potentially be reversed this month, Arteta said, “We have a decision to make.”
I had a decision to make and I took it.
I knew what the consequences were, and now in January we have to make another decision.
For Saturday’s FA Cup third-round match against Newcastle, Özil is available, although its use seems unthinkable. Thomas Partey was able to return from a thigh injury that had held him out of action over the past two months for all but 45 minutes, while Arteta indicated he could be kept fit for the Premier League match against Crystal Palace on Thursday.
While the fate of Özil is a relatively short-term problem for Arteta, the manager is increasingly worried about the prospects of Arsenal committing his future to Folarin Balogun, a highly-rated striker.
Balogun’s contract expires in July and it is reported that a number of clubs have asked about him.
Arteta suggested that at the feet of the player’s representatives lies every stumbling block.
“It takes three parties to make a deal,” he said. “Certainly the club wants to do a deal, the manager wants to do a deal, the player wants to stay and I’m not sure about the agent.”
Balogun shares an agent with a number of other talented Arsenal players, including Jadon Sancho, the Borussia Dortmund striker.
Then Arteta rowed back on his argument a little bit, but the point was clear.
No,”No, I’m not saying he’s holding [anything]up,”I’m not saying he’s holding [anything]up. We need to reach an arrangement with him, I’m just saying. We’re negotiating with an attorney, with a player who wants to stay at the club, and we need to find a contract.
“We’re doing everything we can to keep him here, and hopefully they’re doing the same and representing the same interests, which is the interests of the player, which is to stay at the soccer club and be successful with us.”