Mesut Ozil to Manchester United: Why Arsenal man won't betray Wenger
Could Mesut Ozil abandon Arsenal in favour of a reunion with Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford?
According to the Sun, Manchester United are hoping to take advantage of the standoff between Ozil and Arsenal over a new contract and make an audacious bid for the Germany playmaker next summer. The paper claims United will offer Ozil a salary of £250,000 a week, way more than the £200,000 a week the Gunners are reportedly willing to pay.
Ozil and Mourinho have a good relationship since their days at Real Madrid, so perhaps it's not totally out of the question that such an offer would tempt Arsenal's biggest star.
But here are five reasons why the move simply won't happen. . . .
Wenger would never sell to Mourinho
While Ozil and Mourinho may have a good relationship, Wenger and Mourinho do not, and there is no way the Frenchman would agree to sell his most prized asset to his most loathed rival. Such a deal would probably be more painful for Wenger than the 6-0 drubbing he endured at Chelsea against his Portuguese nemesis.
Arsenal would only sell abroad
It's true that Arsenal could be forced to cash in on Ozil next summer if he refuses to sign a new deal, as he would then only have one more year left on his current contract. But if so, Arsenal would probably only consider offers from abroad -- and there should be no shortage of those. Why sell to any Premier League rival when the likes of Barcelona or Bayern Munich would gladly snap him up?
Ozil is enjoying himself at Arsenal
Aside from the money issue, there's every indication that Ozil is happy at Arsenal. And he is on course for his best season yet after netting seven goals already this campaign. He has flourished in a freer role and told the Arsenal website this week: "I knew that if I moved to Arsenal, I would develop myself further, especially under the boss. I'm in a good way. The team really supports me, the manager gives me his trust and you see that I enjoy myself on the pitch."
That doesn't sound like a man desperate to move on.
Mourinho mind games?
Maybe United actually do believe this deal could happen. But given Mourinho's history of taunts and mind games with Wenger, you shouldn't rule out the possibility these rumours are just one more attempt to stir the pot. Arsenal's contract talks with Ozil are crucial for the club's present and future, as a new deal would bring an instant sense of added stability to this season's title challenge. Would Mourinho be above fuelling rumours of an interest in Ozil just to disrupt those talks and get under Wenger's skin even more? Hardly.
United another work in progress
Ozil wants to win titles, but it's far from certain he'd have a better chance of doing that at Old Trafford. When he joined Arsenal in 2013, he was the first major piece in a rebuilding project that was just beginning as the club started enjoying more financial strength. Since then, they've added Alexis Sanchez, Petr Cech, Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi to slowly build a side that should be able to compete for titles right now. While United are trying to rebuild their team much quicker, they're still a work in progress. Mourinho is their fourth manager in four years and is off to a rocky start, with the team lagging in sixth place in the Premier League despite the massive outlay on players this summer. Ozil may be the piece they're missing, but there are too many unknowns at Old Trafford for it to be a risk-free move.
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.