It makes a sort of sense that Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil has entered the last year of his contract with his future still up in the air.
If there is one word that sums the midfield magician up, it is “unpredictable”; it’s what makes him such a tough opponent and simultaneously often a frustrating team-mate.
Word has it that Ozil has told pals he’ll only leave Arsenal for one of three clubs: Manchester United, Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Arsene Wenger has expressed optimism that the player will sign a new contract. Arsenal’s recent 5-2 pounding of Everton featured a star performance from the German star (including a rare headed goal), which has led some to speculate that he’s playing for a move.
So with a lot of speculation and little concrete information, can we confidently predict where he’ll be lining up for the 2018/19 season?
Manchester United: Not as unlikely as it may seem
The received wisdom is that first-team players do not move from a top club to another in the same league, but this has been repeatedly disproved in recent years.
Chelsea’s sale of Nemanja Matic to United in the summer is just the most recent example. So Ozil to Man U is not as astronomic an outside bet as, say, Crystal Palace to beat Spurs this weekend, the likelihood of which Betway puts at 9/1
What odds might be offered on Ozil to Man U? About 5/1, we reckon – a far more likely occurrence than Palace overturning Tottenham, at least.
Mikael Silvestre, who moved in the opposite direction, claims that Ozil wouldn’t last long under Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford. That’s the Jose Mourinho who signed Ozil for Real Madrid and has compared him to Zinedine Zidane, so maybe Mikael Silvestre wants to have another go at that.
Barcelona: Possible, but improbable
There’s no doubt that the recruiters at Barcelona have been casting covetous glances in the direction of a Premier League playmaker with magic in his boots. However, their interest seems to be focused further north on Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho.
This doesn’t mean Ozil to the Camp Nou is impossible, but it does make it less likely.
With silky midfielders not in short supply in Catalonia and the club rumoured to want to add Antoine Griezmann for a large fee, it seems clear that should they finally land Coutinho any lingering interest in Ozil will be dead.
Back to Real: Looking like a “No”
It’s hard to rule Real Madrid out of signing any player.
Like a spoilt child in need of a balloon, they have a way of pointing at any star and making him theirs. Ask Man U, who were rather keen to keep Cristiano Ronaldo, but powerless in the face of Real’s open pursuit of a player who desperately wanted to join.
Next summer that player is set to be… not Mesut Ozil.
Real already have Casemiro, Isco, Modric, Kroos and others.
Their sights for 2018/19 seem to be set very firmly on Harry Kane, who they may be prepared to break records to sign. Again, it’s not impossible that Ozil could end up there; merely unlikely.
So, all things considered, unless Man United step up with an offer a few more years in Islington could be on the cards for Mesut.