An Arsenal reporter has suggested how the club could increase their chances of signing Dani Ceballos permanently, while offering a similar outlook on how likely they are to offload a loaned out flop.
In a Q&A session on Football London, correspondent James Benge revealed the situation for three attacking midfielders.
While strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are in line to receive new deals, Benge confirmed that midfielder Mesut Ozil will not be offered a contract extension – unless he would be willing to take a paycut.
“Obviously Arsenal are not going to offer him an extension on his current terms, he’s a fringe player who is among the best-paid players in world football,” said the website’s senior writer. “By the time his current contract ends in 2021 he’ll be approaching his 33rd birthday and it is highly unlikely that he will have grown in importance.
“There is no guarantee that club and player will agree on new terms, particularly if Ozil does not feature regularly under Unai Emery.
“If Ozil remains a fringe player the expectation is that he may look elsewhere for his future. It’s not for nothing that his representatives were holding talks with DC United, they may have been partly about opening a coffee shop at their stadium but it is widely known that there is more to it than that.
“Ozil is happy and settled in London but he will not want to spend his final prime years warming the Arsenal bench.”
Meanwhile, Henrikh Mkhitaryan appears to be gone for good – but, despite the playmaker declaring his pleasure at playing in Serie A, his loan to Roma may not be made permanent.
“I’ve been told from several sources at Arsenal that Roma do not have a purchase option for Mkhitaryan. It was significant as well that Roma, who are listed on the Italian stock exchange, did not confirm any such option. They did, however, announce that they would be paying around £2.8million in loan fees.
“Of course there could be an unofficial agreement between the parties but as I understand it there is nothing obliging Roma to buy the player.
“More significantly Roma agreed to take on Mkhitaryan’s near-£200,000-a-week wages in their entirety. That is a saving of getting on for £10million.
“Arsenal would have liked to sell Mkhitaryan on a permanent basis this summer but unsurprisingly there weren’t that many takers for a player who has struggled ever since leaving Borussia Dortmund. That is the potential advantage of there not being a purchase clause.
“If Mkhitaryan does well then there may be other clubs prepared to offer a deal to Arsenal, perhaps a better one than they’d have got for such a distressed asset.”
One player Arsenal brought in on loan was Dani Ceballos, although they similarly may not have the option to buy him outright from Real Madrid.
“Arsenal had wanted to put a purchase option in the loan agreement with Ceballos but Real Madrid were having none of it. Why would they? He’s 23 years old and as Gunners fans have already seen his potential is phenomenal.
“There are a few cogs to the deal that might give Arsenal hope, though I’ll confess I’m no expert on the internal politics of the Bernabeu. However it is well known that Ceballos and Zinedine Zidane do not have the best relationship. If the Frenchman is still manager at the end of the year that strengthens Arsenal’s hand.
“A move from Real Madrid for Paul Pogba or Christian Eriksen would do much the same as indeed would another summer of dramatic spending that would force Florentino Perez et al to balance the books.
“If Ceballos does come on the market I’d expect Arsenal to move for him but at the moment Real Madrid see him in their plans for the future.”
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