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 confident Mesut Ozil will soon sign a new contract worth a staggering £51.5million, Football Insider sources understand.
Reports in Spain have claimed that the Germany World Cup winner has rejected the offer of a new deal, with Barcelona keen to sign the 27-year-old.
However, a well-placed Arsenal source has told Football Insider that preliminary 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 are working on a deal.
Discussions are centred around a five-and-a-half-year agreement that will run until 2021 and will be worth £51.5million, equivalent to £180,000-a-week.
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 and, in December, an agreement was close.
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.
He tops the Premier League assists chart this season with 16, six more than closes rival 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.
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. They are also keen to tie Sanchez down to a new deal.