Tuesday 22 August 2017

Midfielder Mesut Ozil says it is 'definitely my preference to stay' at Arsenal

Mesut Ozil, right, and Alexis Sanchez are out of contract next year
Mesut Ozil, right, and Alexis Sanchez are out of contract next year

Mesut Ozil has revealed it is "definitely my preference to stay" at Arsenal.

Like Alexis Sanchez, who has been linked with a move to Manchester City during the summer transfer window, German playmaker Ozil is entering the final year of his current contract.

The 28-year-old, signed from Real Madrid in September 2013, maintains he is hopeful of being able to continue his career at the Emirates Stadium.

Speaking at the launch of Arsenal's third kit in Sydney, Ozil said in quotes posted on the club's official website: "It is definitely my preference to stay. It is such a great club and I have always said that I feel very good at Arsenal.

"Once everyone is back in London we will sit down and discuss about the future.

"For now the most important thing is our pre-season and getting through the tour, training and getting fitness. When I'm back in London, we will sit down and discuss."

Chile forward Sanchez said during the Confederations Cup in Russia he knew where he would be playing next season but stopped short of announcing his plans.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger claims Sanchez has not told him he wants to leave the Emirates Stadium.

Manchester City are reportedly ready to offer the former Barcelona forward wages of some £400,000 per week should he opt to push for a move ahead of the final year of his current contract rather than pen a new deal with Arsenal.

Sanchez has been given some extra time off as the rest of the squad headed to Australia for the start of pre-season, which begins with a match against Sydney FC at the ANZ Stadium on Thursday, where new club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette is expected to make his debut.

Ozil feels "it would hit the team quite hard" were Sanchez to leave.

Club captain Per Mertesacker, who is set to take over at the Arsenal Academy from the 2018/2019 season, believes the Gunners remain focused on bringing talent in rather than allowing key men to depart.

"We have a strong squad and we do not want to lose any players. Even in their final contract year we need them," the German said.

"We cannot afford to lose them. If you're talking about championships, then to keep our best player is the key"

The arrival of Lacazette, whom Arsenal have confirmed will wear the number nine shirt, has cast doubt on the future of Olivier Giroud.

The France forward is a reported target for both Everton and West Ham, although Gunners boss Wenger insists the 30-year-old remains part of his plans.

Giroud intends to just take things as they come.

" Honestly I don't know (about my future). For the moment I'm still an Arsenal player and try to be professional like I always have done and to prepare well for the next season," the 30-year-old said.

"Obviously, there will be more competition - even more than last year, but it's always nice for a striker to feel the pressure.

"I always deal with it. I've been through some difficulty this last year, but always succeed to bounce back.

"I don't know about my future, so can't tell you more, focused on my pre-season."

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