Things seem to be going from bad to worse for poor old Arsene Wenger and Arsenal these days. The club failed to qualify for the Champions League this season for the first time in 17 years and had to settle playing in the Europa leagues against the likes of BATE Borisov, Cologne and Red Star Belgrade. Couple this with the situation of wantaway contract rebels Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, and the North London club are having a torrid time of late.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, the latter of the two has been strongly linked with a move to bitter rivals Manchester United. With only nine months remaining on his contract, the German playmaker will be able to negotiate a free transfer to overseas clubs as of January, with Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City and Inter Milan also rumoured to be interested.
Ozil worked with United manager Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid and the German World Cup-winner seems keen to make the move north to Manchester according to recent rumours. The Old Trafford club are amongst the favourites to secure Ozil’s signature should he make a move in January, with Dortmund and Barcelona at 16/1, Inter Milan outright favourites at 11/2. The Manchester United betting odds are as short as 8/1.
This has come as a surprise to many, as Mourinho was the man who sanctioned Ozil’s move to Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013. Questions will be raised as to whether the attacking midfielder is likely to fulfill the defensive qualities demanded from a Jose Mourinho system, and the question is, do Manchester really need another highly-paid creative player?
The first seven games of the season have yielded a very impressive 22 goals so far for the Manchester club following the arrival of Romelu Lukaku from Everton for a massive £90 million in the summer transfer window, who himself has scored seven of these. Prior to their electric start this season United’s lack of firepower was definitely cause for concern.
Last season the club finished in a lowly sixth place having scored just 54 goals in total, only four more than 14th placed Crystal Palace. When you consider that the club only conceded 29 goals in the league season, the second least, it would be reasonable to assume that this is why the club drew 15 of their 38 games.
Following a year of adapting to the physically rigors of the premier league, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is finally showing the scintillating form that secured him a move from Borussia Dortmund. The Armenian has been one of United’s most consistent performers so far this term and if he can continue this form, there is no doubt that the goals will keep flowing in.
Mkhitaryan’s red-hot form raises doubts over Ozil’s ability to dislodge Mkhitaryan from the starting 11. Make no mistake, on his day Ozil is amongst the best in the world, but whether his day comes around often enough is a matter open for debate. Whilst the capture of Mesut Ozil on a free transfer would be a coup for any team, does this really justify the £200,000+ in wages that he would likely demand just to warm the Old Trafford bench?