Manchester United's chances of signing Mesut Ozil either in January or in the summer have taken a hit after Arsene Wenger admitted that Arsenal are more optimistic about the German extending his stay at the club.
The 29-year-old midfielder has entered the final six-months of his contract with the north London club and is yet to pen an extension. Ozil can talk to clubs outside England and agree a pre-contract or move to the club of his choice when he becomes a free agent in the summer.
Jose Mourinho is a big admirer of the midfielder and has been linked with a move, with certain reports suggesting that the Red Devils could make a move during the ongoing winter transfer window. Arsenal are unlikely to let the German leave midway through the campaign, especially if Alexis Sanchez leaves, which looks highly likely.
According to the Manchester Evening News, the Gunners have made a fresh offer to Ozil in the hope that he signs beyond the current campaign. The midfielder however is said to be waiting to see what Arsenal's long-term plan is as apart from a significant wage hike, he is also keen to assess if he can fulfil his dream of winning the Premier League title at the Emirates.
The 20-time English champions will have to act fast if they are to have a chance of signing him, but Wenger remains hopeful that he signs a new deal. The midfielder is said to be happy in London and has insisted in the past that he wishes to remain an Arsenal player.
Wenger revealed that the financial side of the deal remains as important as the player's desire to win trophies and confirmed that Arsenal are keen to retain Ozil and Jack Wilshere, who is also out of contract in the summer. The former currently earns around £140,000-a-week ($192,213), while the latter earns around £90,000-a-week.
The French coach, however, was almost certain that Sanchez will leave the club either in January or in the summer as they do not expect him to agree a new deal. He was heavily linked with a move to Manchester City, but United have become the favourites after the Etihad Stadium outfit baulked at Arsenal's £35m January valuation.
"Yes. There is still an opportunity for him to stay. We are more optimistic than the summer," Wenger said speaking about Ozil's contract situation, as quoted by Sky Sports.
"These guys want to win, and they want to make money as well. So they want a combination of the two that big clubs can give them," the French coach explained. "Incidentally he's won trophies with us. So he wants to fight as well for the Premier League, that's normal when you are at that level."
"It looks like Sanchez will not extend his contract, but we want to keep Jack and if we have an opportunity maybe to keep Ozil, the rebuild will be less deep than if all three left," Wenger added.