The Red Devils were unsuccessful in their attempts to bring the former Arsenal captain back to England as the 26-year-old Spaniard reiterated his desire to stay at the Camp Nou with his boyhood club in Catalonia.
Meanwhile, the Catalan’s archrivals over in the Spanish capital are set to sign Tottenham’s Gareth Bale on a world-record breaking fee of £86 million and the Welshman’s arrival at the Bernabeu will likely force at least one of the Los Blancos attacking midfielders to depart in the next few days.
Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria are the two players most likely to be sold, not only to make way for Bale in Carlo Ancelotti’s first team but also to compensate for the huge financial outlay they undertake with his transfer.
Both Ozil and Di Maria have underlined their determination to fight for their place in the team in Madrid and their intentions of honouring their long-term contracts but, as we may see over the weekend, they may find they are effectively pushed out of the club.
The latter of the pair, 25-year-old Argentine winger Di Maria is heavily linked with a possible move to Arsenal but as yet the bid, reportedly around £25 million this week, has yet to be confirmed as acceptable to the club.
Meanwhile, Ozil is the subject of speculation Manchester United could offer in excess of £40 million for the German ace who is reportedly demanding £200,000 a week in wages.
The 24-year-old Germany playmaker will be well aware of the immense potential that has come through the ranks in his homeland since his last outing on the world stage in the European Championships last summer and the World Cup in 2010.
Ozil was regarded then as one of the finest creative talents of his generation and promptly earned himself a move to Real Madrid from Werder Bremen in 2010 for €15 million. The emergence of Mario Gotze, Toni Kroos, Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle and Lewis Holtby means there will be fierce competition for Ozil in the German side’s attacking positions come next summer.
He cannot afford to spend time on the bench at the Bernabeu with the likes of Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Isco ahead of him in the pecking order. Ozil made 52 appearances in total across all competitions for Real Madrid last term, scored 10 goals and made 24 assists but he’s unlikely to see the same access to first-team football with the arrival of Isco and Bale.
Comparatively, Cesc Fabregas made 48 appearances for Spanish champions Barcelona last term, scoring 14 goals and making 15 assists in total. In terms of what Manchester United and David Moyes require, Ozil would be the ideal playmaker to bolster the Red Devils’ creative play.
He’s two years Fabregas’ junior and still has ample time to improve and develop and he would likely be far more open to a move to the English champions than his Spanish counterpart, given his lack of association with any of their Premier League rivals.
United have goals in abundance in Robin van Persie and, in reality, all over the pitch but what Moyes really needs is a world-class creative mind and Mesut Ozil is exactly that. His technique and artistry with the ball, his distribution, his skill and his intelligence make him the ideal player to work off Van Persie and Wayne Rooney. It’s actually surprising that United hadn’t considered him ahead of Fabregas.
Imagine an attacking line-up of Van Persie, Rooney, Kagawa, and Ozil working in tandem and it’s clear to see he is the missing link, plus his experience at the highest level means he would likely hit the ground running in no time.
Another aspect to consider is the two players injury records – Fabregas has struggled both at Arsenal and Barcelona with injury (he’s suffered a serious injury every year since 2010) where Ozil hasn’t had a problem since March 2010 when a back strain kept him out for just 6 days. Prior to that he was ill with flu in 2009 for 5 days.
Ozil could have been even better than Fabregas at United, which makes his commitment to Madrid just as if not more depressing for the Red Devils.
image: © Jan S0L0