Mesut Özil has said he would like to sign a new contract with Arsenal but that he wants to know if Arsène Wenger is staying at the Emirates Stadium beyond this season before committing to the club.
The attacking midfielder, who has 18 months left on his contract, said in an interview with the German football magazine Kicker: “I am very, very happy at Arsenal and have let the club know that I would be ready to sign a new contract. The fans want that I stay and now it is just down to the club.”
Özil, who signed for Arsenal in 2013 after three years at Real Madrid, said it is not a financial decision: “The club knows that I am here most of all because of Arsène Wenger. He is the one who signed me and he is the one whose trust I have. The club also knows that I want to be clear what the manager is going to [in the future].” Wenger’s contract runs out this summer.
The German international has been criticised for not signing a new contract by, among others, Thierry Henry, who said that the German international and Alexis Sánchez, who also has 18 months left on his deal, were “holding the club hostage” with their wage demands.
Özil, however, said he does not care what former players are saying about him as they do not know the full story. “Everyone has a right to say what they want but what they have to say doesn’t interest me,” he said. “Ex-players or other people who have a view don’t know what is actually being said between me and the club.”
Wenger, when asked about the possibility of renewing of Özil’s and Sánchez’s contracts beyond 2018, said last month that “every club loses big players” and that no individual is bigger than Arsenal. He said: “Arsenal is a big club. It is not one or two players who will make the difference. The important thing is we are in a strong financial position; that was not the case before [when the club changed stadiums].
“We are in a financial position where we can plan our future and do what we want to do. And what is important is always to take care of the values of the club, and the identity of the club, and not to depend too much on one or two players.”