By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
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Arsenal are close to agreeing a new contract with Mesut Ozil worth a staggering £51.5million, Football Insider sources understand.
Ozil is in talks with the London club about a deal that will elevate his basic salary by £50,000-a-week to £180,000-a-week and make him comfortably the best-paid player in Arsenal’s history.
Arsene Wenger’s public stance is that the Londoners will not press ahead with contract talks with Arsenal’s first-teamers until the new year but, behind the scenes, both parties are working on a deal.
A senior Arsenal dressing room source has told Football Insider that discussions are centred around a five-and-a-half-year agreement that will run until 2021 and will be worth £51.5million.
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.
Bayern Munich and Fenerbahce are among the clubs monitoring the situation of the playmaker, who turned 27 last month.
But Arsenal do not want to cash in on Ozil, who is regarded by Wenger as one of the team’s most important players.
He tops the Premier League assists chart this season with 12, double that of his closest rival 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.
As revealed by Football Insider, the north London club are pushing ahead with contract talks with Jack Wilshere despite the shin fracture that his sidelined him for the whole season.
Meanwhile, Nacho Monreal has signed a new deal although it has not yet been announced by the club.