EXCLUSIVE | By Editor
Arsenal have opened preliminary contract discussions with Mesut Ozil, Football Insider sources understand.
The first meeting has taken place between Gunners chiefs and Ozil even though his current agreement has nearly three years to run.
Arsene Wenger is confident Ozil will justify his £40million club-record fee this season following improved performances since returning from a three-month injury absence in February.
Bayern Munich and Fenerbahce are among the clubs monitoring the situation of the playmaker, who turns 27 later this week.
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But Arsenal do not want to cash in on Ozil, who has the total faith of Wenger and, along with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech and Aaron Ramsey, is regarded as one of the team’s most important players.
Ozil has had a mixed 18 months following his arrival from Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 but has grown more influential in recent times, with his touch and vision in the No10 role key to maximising the pace and movement of the likes of Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He was outstanding in the Gunners’ 3-0 victory over Manchester United before the international break.
The Germany international, whose current deal is worth £130,000-a-week, has started 10 of Arsenal’s 12 matches this season.
The Londoners are keen to tie down first-teamers aged under 30 to long-term contracts and the Ozil contract situation is the latest on their radar.
As revealed by Football Insider last month, the north London club will push ahead with contract talks with Jack Wilshere despite his latest injury setback. The midfielder has undergone surgery on a fractured left fibula and will be sidelined for until Christmas.
Meanwhile, Nacho Monreal has signed a new deal although it has not yet been announced by the club.