Inter Milan president Eric Thohir has confirmed the club's interest in Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, but remains sceptical about making a January move for a player available on a free transfer next summer.
The Gunners midfielder is in the final year of his contract with the club and is yet to sign a new deal despite holding talks with Arsenal since the start of the year. Earlier, Arsene Wenger was confident that an agreement could be reached but recently admitted that talks had "slowed down".
Ozil can start negotiating pre-contracts with clubs outside England from January next year, and has also been linked with a move to Manchester United with the midfielder said to be keen to reunite with Jose Mourinho, under whom he played at Real Madrid.
The Germany international has indicated a number of times that he is happy in London and admitted earlier in the season that his preference is to remain at Arsenal. But it remains to be seen if the club can convince him to sign a new deal before the end of the year.
Inter have made their interest known, but according to the Mirror, they will not entertain any swap deal involving Joao Mario. They could agree a pre-contract with Ozil, however, that will see him move on a free transfer next summer.
"He [Ozil] is definitely one of those players we are looking at," Thohir said, as quoted by the Mirror.
"But the last January signings of Podolski and Shaqiri prove that winter signings can fail to live up to expectations," the Serie A side's president added.
Ozil is not the only player Arsenal are in danger of losing on a free transfer next summer, as Alexis Sanchez is also in the final nine months of his contract with the club.
The Chilean looks almost certain to leave after failing with a switch to Manchester City during the summer transfer window. The Etihad Stadium outfit could reignite their interest in January, but it is unlikely Arsenal will allow the striker to leave mid-season.
Jack Wilshere is also on the final year of his current deal, but the club are yet to offer him a new deal. Wenger is keen for the midfielder to fulfil his potential at Arsenal, but is waiting to see if he can remain fit and regularly challenge for a place in the starting XI before offering him a new deal.