Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand would be more than happy to see Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil arrive at Old Trafford on a free transfer amid interest from La Liga leaders Barcelona.

Ozil is in the final knockings of his contract at the Emirates Stadium and looks highly unlikely to commit his future to Arsene Wenger's side, who suffered a 3-1 defeat by United on Saturday (2 December), ending their run of 12 straight home victories thanks in no small part to David de Gea.

Barcelona have been heavily linked with a move for former Real Madrid star Ozil, who joined Arsenal from Los Blancos in the summer of 2013. Ernesto Valverde's men are considering a €20m swoop for the World Cup winner in the January transfer window, though Arsenal boss Wenger recently insisted that the German will stay in north London until the end of the season, alongside fellow wantaway Alexis Sanchez.

Wenger's stance makes the prospect of Ozil leaving for nothing at the end of the season the most likely, and Ferdinand, who enjoyed a trophy-laden 12-year stint with United between 2002 and 2014, does not think his former club should think twice about snapping up the former Schalke star.

"Since he signed in the Premier League he has had the most assists and chances created in the entire division so that tells you the standard of player he is," Ferdinand said on BT Sport, relayed by the Daily Mail.

"I played against him when he was at Real Madrid and he was different player from what I've seen here. He is deceptively quick and if you can get that out of him, with the technical ability he has, then I would take him at Manchester United as a free transfer all day, no doubt."

United have been credited with a interest in Ozil in recent weeks, though they may baulk at the 29-year-old's apparent £350,000-a-week wage demands. Barcelona are said to be willing to match his astronomical request, though it remains to be seen if the Blaugrana decide to raid Arsenal or Liverpool for their prized playmaker, with Philippe Coutinho still very much in their sights.

Mesut Ozil
Ozil has interest in him from a number of esteemed clubs. Getty Images