Raul Sanllehi, who recently joined Arsenal from Barcelona as head of football relations, reportedly brokered a meeting between the La Liga side and the agent of Mesut Ozil to discuss a potential transfer in the future.
According to Sport (h/t Annie Eaves of Sport Witness), before departing his post at the Camp Nou, Sanllehi made a "final gesture" to the Catalan giants by setting up a meeting involving Erkut Sogut on Thursday in Barcelona.
The report also noted that Ozil has been made aware he is not the Blaugrana's first-choice signing, with Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho and Gremio starlet Arthur said to be ahead of the German on the team's transfer agenda.
Nevertheless, the 29-year-old is reported to be keen on making the move. Ozil appears to be attainable in January, with his contract at the Emirates Stadium set to expire at the end of the Premier League season.
Sport Witness relayed how the story was reported in the Catalan press:
Sport Witness @Sport_Witness
Of course! Raul Sanllehi has laid foundations for Ozil transfer, arranged agent meeting. https://t.co/9aiLKMao14 #afc https://t.co/7xAA763RMy2017-12-13 08:32:43
The German has come in for some criticism during his time at Arsenal, although there's no denying how good he can be when he's at his best.
Ozil has the quality to change a game in an instant. In possession he is balanced, elegant and incisive in the way he utilises the ball. For a side that so often faces opponents seeking to sit deep and defend, he's such an asset.
While there have been some poor showings from the former Real Madrid man this term, in the main he's been one of Arsenal's standout performers.
Jack Pitt-Brooke of The Independent commented on how good Ozil was recently in Arsenal's 5-0 mauling of Huddersfield Town in the Premier League:
Jack Pitt-Brooke @JackPittBrooke
Mesut Ozil has just killed this game with a ludicrous 10 minutes of football. Assist, assist, goal, all of it one touch. What a player!2017-11-29 21:15:04
In the main, Ozil boasts a lot of qualities you would associate with Barcelona. He plays the game with style, is technically sublime and is a master at keeping possession in tight areas.
The prospect of the German feeding the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele would be an exciting one for those who frequent the Camp Nou. After all, Ozil has always been a much more dangerous prospect when he has movement in front of him.
He's also shone in Spain in the past, enjoying three excellent years at Real Madrid, winning La Liga and the Copa del Rey in the process. Grup 14's Rafael Hernandez believes he could do a job for Barca over a similar period:
Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117
Özil strongly linked with Barcelona for €20m this January. I have reservations about his signing and he’s 29 years old, but for this price in a 2 and a half year contract, it’s worth the risk. If he regains form and confidence in a winning team, he’d become a fantastic signing.2017-11-21 11:17:58
As reported by The Independent, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is adamant the club have yet to give up on agreeing a new contract with Ozil. However, with the player allowed to discuss terms with foreign sides in 2018, the prospect of a renewal at this juncture appears slim.
Barcelona may have other targets, although Liverpool and Gremio will want to keep hold of their respective star midfielders. With that and Ozil's contract situation considered, you sense speculation regarding a potential move to the Camp Nou for the German will remain for a while yet.