Where would Mesut Ozil fit in at Manchester United if Jose Mourinho persuade him to leave Arsenal?
The transfer window may have closed more than a month ago but that hasn’t stopped Manchester United lining up players for next season – especially those who are out of contract in the summer.
And The Independent revealed this week that Jose Mourinho was instructing his board to do just that and is eager to reunite with Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil.
Mourinho worked with Ozil at Real Madrid and is hugely confident that he can use that history to persuade the German to join, given that he is still yet to sign a new contract at the Emirates and his current deal expires at the end of the season.
But with already having an abundance of players capable of filling the No 10 position in the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba, where would Ozil fit in, if anywhere?
One of the excuses often made for Ozil is that he never played in his favoured position in his early years at Arsenal, having often been left to play out wide on the right or left, cutting inside.
However, with an already embarrassment of riches in players who can play behind the striker in the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba, the position is fairly flooded.
If Ozil can rediscover his drive, and if Mourinho learns to trust Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial as the two speedsters either side of him then United’s attack could become one of the most dangerous in the world.
The only concern for Ozil in this position is whether Mourinho can turn him back into the hard-working playmaker he had at Real rather than the uninterested and often lazy one Arsenal have had in the last months.
Playing Ozil out to the right would be where Mourinho would look to initially position the 28-year-old going on the precedent he has set with his playmakers so far this season.
United have gone with the pace of Rashford or Martial on the left with the creativity of Mata or Mkhitaryan on the right so far this season and it has worked well and Ozil would fill the same role as those two have played.
Would he provide the pace of Mkhitaryan? No. Would he be as well liked as Juan Mata? No. Would he be an upgrade on either? Maybe. Joining United would surely give Ozil a new lease of life that would push him back towards his best, which is arguably better than what United have at the moment.
The current Ozil would not walk into the United side right now – he doesn’t even make the Arsenal one – and therefore the only logical place for him would be amongst the substitutes.
His current form isn’t at the level of Mata, Mkhitaryan, Martial or Rashford but he would be a fine first alternative ahead of the likes of Jesse Lingard – but would Ozil be happy with that?
Rotation will come into play significantly and with United battling on four fronts Ozil would see plenty of game-time, and not many teams would have a better playing lying in reserve.
Why would Manchester United sign Mesut Ozil then? We’ve established his current form is not at a higher, or even equal, level to that of what they already have at the club and that at best he is a rotation player until he can rediscover his form of a year and a half ago.
But maybe the question should be why wouldn’t Manchester United sign Mesut Ozil? A player with the potential of being top 10 in the world, who is available on a free, who would help take the pressure off the current crop and in signing him would make a rival instantly weaker.
Other than £220,000-a-week wages, which is a drop in the ocean for a club like United, it’s a low-risk gamble at best.
Independent News Service