Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said it's "difficult to believe" Mesut Ozil would speak of a Gunners departure after he starred in Sunday's 5-2 demolition of Everton, referring to speculation as "wrong news."
Ozil has reportedly told team-mates he'll leave the Emirates Stadium to reunite up with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho at the end of the season, per Charles Watts of football.london, but Wenger refuted the rumours: "We live in an environment where we have to deal with wrong news. The players and myself have only one response and that's what happens on the football pitch. When you see Mesut focused and like he was today and enjoying his game, it's difficult to believe these type of things."
Ozil grabbed his first Premier League goal of the season—and also recorded his first assist—in a one-sided beating of the Toffees at Goodison Park, earning man-of-the-match honours in the process, per Sky Sports Statto:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
Man of the match, @Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil 68 touches Completed 50 of 56 passes Created 8 chances, 1 assist Scored 1st goal of the season https://t.co/jtF6gozzhl2017-10-22 14:35:26
Mourinho signed Ozil not long after arriving at Real Madrid in 2010, and many might argue it was under the Portuguese tactician that he played the best football of his career before moving to Arsenal in 2013.
Wenger went on to say he felt "the whole team played well," although he couldn't help but single out Ozil for special praise and added of the German: "Agile, quick, intelligent. Always at the service of the team with the quality of his passing. When he is at that level he is an exceptional football player."
Ozil is in the final year of his contract and will be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with any foreign club willing to meet his wage expectations as of January, when he'll enter the last six months of his deal.
The 29-year-old took to Twitter prior to Sunday's triumph over Everton, seemingly referring to the off-field speculation surrounding him and ultimately living up to his pledge in doing away with any distractions:
Mesut Özil @MesutOzil1088
Ignore the noise and stay focused! 👊🏼 #COYG #EFCvAFC @arsenal https://t.co/Gjaf4reVsL2017-10-21 16:35:30
It's been reported in past months that Arsenal have tabled a new contract for Ozil that the player has simply yet to sign, but recent claims emerged pointing to the contrary.
The Sun's Martin Lipton provided comment from "a close friend" of the Arsenal star, who insisted Ozil is not demanding the extravagant salary that's been alleged:
"Mesut has not had any contract offer from Arsenal. There were talks about a modest pay rise last season but all those talks ended in March. There’s been nothing since then.
"At the time there was uncertainty over Arsene Wenger's future so the conversations stopped.
"He has not been offered £300,000 a week — in fact, he has no offers on the table from Arsenal or any other club.
"And he is not seeking to become the highest-paid player in the Premier League. That’s not his aim."
Many sections of Arsenal's support may yet hold out hope their star will perform a U-turn and sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium, although that seems less likely the closer he gets to the expiration of his current deal.