Mesut Ozil wants to increase his Arsenal wages to £160,000 per week as part of extending his stay with the Premier League side. The Germany international is currently discussing a new deal with the Gunners.
Daniel Cutts of the Sun (h/t Rhys Turrell of the Daily Star) has stated Ozil is keen to stay with the north London club until 2019 but wants "£160,000 a week." Cutts' report also claimed fellow Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez is currently pushing for a similar deal.
News of Ozil's desire to stay will be welcome for manager Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman has carefully built his squad around Ozil's mercurial brain.
He's surrounded him with runners in midfield and worker bees along the forward line, including both Sanchez and towering workhorse Olivier Giroud. No longer required to track back, the way he often was when Wenger deployed him wide, Ozil is instead free to hover in the grey area between midfield and attack, finding the space to thread passes between the lines.
The approach has worked, with Ozil enjoying an astonishing season, one that could see him break a Premier League record currently owned by a Gunners legend, according to Sky Sports' Peter Smith:
The Arsenal midfielder has 16 assists to his name so far this season in just 23 Premier League appearances for the Gunners, six more than nearest challenger, Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez.
The German is now only four behind the record held by Thierry Henry, with 13 league matches left this season in which to surpass the 20 assists recorded by the former Arsenal forward in 2002/03.
More than just assists though, Ozil is beginning to pose more of a goal threat. He's netted six times for the Gunners this season, per WhoScored.com.
More than the numbers, though, Ozil is starting to take a direct approach to getting into scoring positions. He is making more runs beyond the striker to split opposing centre-backs and attempt to latch on to passes from deep.
Adding a few more goals can make Ozil close to the perfect No. 10. He's already a star talent capable of finally inspiring Arsenal to major trophies again.
If Wenger's Gunners capture a top prize or two this season, Ozil will be the inspiration. Failing to win with players as good as the German and Sanchez in the ranks would be an almost inexcusable disappointment.
Riyad Mahrez Predicted to Join Arsenal
From Ozil's contract talks to a more tenuous link between the Gunners and Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez. He's been tipped to eventually join Arsenal by former Leicester, among others, player Stan Collymore.
The current talkSPORT presenter was engaging in a Twitter Q&A, according to Metro's Mark Brus, when he proclaimed Mahrez's next destination, with Leicester's top-of-the-table clash against the Gunners just days away.
Brus even stated his belief Collymore's view has merit: "The former Liverpool star has a decent record on transfers and seems in no doubt that Mahrez will end up at the Emirates Stadium next season."
Regardless of the veracity of Collymore's claim, the idea of Wenger moving to sign Mahrez makes a lot of sense. The pacy and creative 24-year-old would be an excellent fit on the right side of the Gunners front three.
That's been a problem position this season with Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Joel Campbell and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all having had frankly unconvincing auditions.
But Mahrez boasts the trickery, skill, eye for a pass and knack for a goal Arsenal need from the flank. His left foot is devastating, particularly whenever he cuts in from the right.
He's netted 14 times and supplied 10 assists in England's top flight this season, per ESPN FC. That level of production naturally has the Foxes keen to sign Mahrez to a new deal, according to Laurie Whitwell of the Daily Mail.
But an offer from the Gunners, along with the promise of regular UEFA Champions League football, may just turn the player's head. There have been links between Mahrez and Arsenal in the past, with Simon Jones of MailOnline linking the Gunners with a move back in December.
Extending Ozil's stay at the club, along with making a bold play for Mahrez, would represent excellent business from Arsenal and a smart way for Wenger to keep the club among the Premier League's elite.
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