Ozil a prized asset which Wenger is keen to keep

Mesut Ozil scoring Arsenal’s third goal against Swansea with a well-executed volley.
Mesut Ozil scoring Arsenal’s third goal against Swansea with a well-executed volley.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Arsene Wenger has said that Arsenal may have to break the bank to secure Mesut Ozil to a new long-term contract and also prove to him that the club can satisfy his ambitions by winning the Premier League title.

The German midfielder's deal expires in the summer of 2018 and negotiations are ongoing over fresh terms.

Wenger was asked to give an update on the situation after Arsenal's 3-2 home win against Swansea City on Saturday - in which Ozil scored his team's third goal - and it was plain that the parties remain a distance apart.

Ozil earns a reported basic wage of £140,000 (S$237,000) a week, but is seeking a substantial rise to reinforce his status as one of the club's marquee players.

"I don't think he needs convincing (to stay)," Wenger said. "He wants to stay here. If you have a good bank, call me."

It was put to Wenger that he had made it sound as if the club and player are a long way apart in their valuations.

"We keep that discreet," he replied. "At due time we will come out with that. Am I confident he will sign? It's not my main worry now. We want to keep our best players, of course. The more I say that, the more he is in a stronger position."

Ozil is Arsenal's record signing, having joined from Real Madrid in 2013 for £42.5 million.

He turned 28 last Saturday and is determined to add to the one league title he has won in his career - the Spanish championship with Real in 2011-12.

Wenger said: "It's not just money. Arsenal can win titles, of course. But that's what we have to show. We are in a league where Man City, Man United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, everybody, fights and you cannot guarantee that to anybody."

Ozil's goal on Saturday - a beautifully-executed volley - was his third of the season and Wenger said he wanted to see him score more.

The German's best return over a season for Arsenal was the eight he scored last season.

"When you see him in training, he scores basically when he wants. You speak with the goalkeepers and he's one of the most difficult players to predict where he'll put the ball," Wenger said.

"I'm happy that he scored and I hope that gives him the taste to try more."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline 'Ozil a prized asset which Wenger is keen to keep'. Print Edition | Subscribe