Barcelona are reportedly considering Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil as a cheaper alternative to Philippe Coutinho, their primary midfield target.
Spanish publication Don Balon have reported that Barcelona are set to turn their attention towards Mesut Ozil with their pursuit of Philippe Coutinho stuttering. The Catalan club are confident of securing a €60 million deal for the Arsenal playmaker.
Ozil is one of the most integral figures of Arsene Wenger’s first-team setup at the Emirates, having played a fundamental role in Arsenal’s fortunes ever since he joined from Real Madrid in the summer of 2013.
2016/17 though, turned out to be a below-par campaign for both the Gunners and the player. While Arsenal finished 5th – this is the first time they have missed Champions League qualification under Wenger – Ozil blew hot and cold over the course of the season.
In all, the German international boasted a modest return of 12 goals and 14 assists in 44 appearances across all competitions last season. The underwhelming campaign notwithstanding though, Ozil remains an instrumental player for Arsenal. But, if one club had their wish, the player could be on his way out of the Emirates.
Barcelona have set their sights on the 28-year-old as they desperately attempt to land a playmaker this summer. The Catalans have already struggled to fill the huge void left by Xavi’s departure in 2015. With Andres Iniesta approaching the end of his glittering career as well, the need to find a playmaker is rather urgent.
The Blaugrana’s primary target was Marco Verratti, but their pursuit of the Italian ran into troubled waters following which they reportedly turned their attention towards Philippe Coutinho. But, Liverpool are playing hardball in negotiations for the Brazilian, holding out for €100 million, which Barcelona are unwilling to pay.
Ozil has, thus, fallen on Ernesto Valverde’s radar. The new manager is eager to find an upgrade on Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez after last summer’s arrivals turned in frustratingly inconsistent displays. However, Arsenal are unlikely to let their prized asset leave without a fight.
Although Ozil is in the final year of his contract at the Emirates, the Gunners are confident that he will pen a new deal soon. Additionally, Wenger has already made it known that Arsenal will not sell the player this summer at any cost.
Barcelona, though, are confident that they will be able to secure the services of Ozil in a €60 million deal. A deal for Ozil would, additionally, be a bitter blow to Real Madrid and Barcelona could have further motivation to complete the move for the aforementioned reason as well.
It now remains to be seen if the La Liga heavyweights can finally succeed in their pursuit to sign a playmaker by landing Ozil or if they are forced to set their sights elsewhere yet again.