Date: 8th April 2016 at 6:21pm
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By Editor Wayne Veysey | 17 years experience of breaking major stories at Evening Standard, PA and Goal, including exclusives like this

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Arsenal are confident Mesut Ozil will put pen to paper this summer on a new contract worth a staggering £46.8million, Football Insider sources understand.

The Germany World Cup winner has been linked with a possible return to Spain, with Barcelona keen to sign the 27-year-old.

However, a well-placed Arsenal source has told Football Insider that talks on a contract extension have progressed well and all parties are confident it will result in Ozil extending his stay at the club until 2021.

Arsene Wenger’s public stance is that the Londoners are in no hurry to press ahead with contract talks with Arsenal’s first-teamers but, behind the scenes, both parties have been working on a deal for many months.

Discussions are centred around a five-year agreement that will run until 2021 and will be worth £46.8million, equivalent to £180,000-a-week, supplemented by performance-related bonuses.

Football Insider revealed in October that the first meeting had taken place between Gunners chiefs and the German’s camp even though his current agreement does not expire until 2018.

Ozil currently earns £130,000-a-week, which makes him the club’s equal top earner along with Alexis Sanchez. Only manager Arsene Wenger earns more than Arsenal’s two most expensive ever signings.

Arsenal do not want to cash in on Ozil, who is regarded by Wenger as one of the team’s most important players.

Banking it: Mesut Ozil is one of Arsenal's top earners

Banking it: Mesut Ozil is set to become the best-paid player in Arsenal’s history

He tops the Premier League assists chart this season with 18, seven more than closest rivals David Silva and Riyad Mahrez, and the most by an Arsenal player in the competition in the same campaign since Cesc Fabregas supplied 13 assists in 2009/10.

The Londoners are keen to tie down first-teamers aged under 30 to long-term contracts and the Ozil contract situation is one of the main ones on their radar.

In other Arsenal news, Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ career is in jeopardy after his mum left an X-rated voicemail on the manager’s phone.