Arsene Wenger is confident playmaker Mesut Ozil will be 100% committed to Gunners cause when Arsenal face Everton this weekend, against the backdrop of links with a move to Manchester United next summer.
The Daily Mail understands that Ozil has informed Arsenal he has no intention of extending his contract, which expires at the end of the campaign. The Germany international has demanded fresh terms worth £17.1m-a-year.
Ozil is reportedly so confident of completing a switch to Old Trafford that he has begun telling friends that the move is inevitable. It leaves Arsenal with the dilemma over whether to retain the ex-Real Madrid star for the final six months of the campaign – at the risk of losing him to a rival such as United – or try to recoup whatever fee they can in the January transfer window.
Many Arsenal fans might prefer the club cash in on Ozil, with the 29-year-old having endured a woeful campaign that has seen him fail to contribute a goal or an assist in six Premier League appearances, amid a season dogged by a knee injury.
But Wenger has no concerns that Ozil will be distracted come the visit to Everton on Sunday (22 October) and that any speculation over a move to United will be forgotten.
"We have to deal with all kinds of speculation when the players are at the end of their contracts," said Wenger, according to the Evening Standard. "On the other hand, to be professional is to give 100% as long as you are somewhere.
"For the rest, we came out many times and said that's the situation. It [the media] can come out tomorrow and say that he extends his contract here. It will be exactly the same, it will not change anything. When you play the next game, commit 100%."
"I believe that at the moment I just focus on what is the best possible team for the next game and have no pre-conceived ideas if the guy will be 100% committed or not. That would be unfair on my side, because you don't have any opinion about that. When a player plays for Arsenal Football Club, his commitment cannot be linked with the length of his contract, it has just to be linked with the responsibility and the ambition he has to win the football game."