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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has denied contract talks with Mesut Ozil have collapsed but has said they have “slowed down a little bit” since the close of the transfer window.
According to Sport Bild (h/t Metro), Arsenal have not discussed a contract extension with the Germany international since February.
However, Wenger has said the club are still in talks with Ozil and they will continue now the window has closed.
“The contract talks have slowed down a little bit since August 31, because we need a little breather and to focus on the competition. But we will slowly get back into that,” he said per John Cross at the Mirror.
Arsenal have offered Ozil a new deal worth more than £275,000-a-week to stay in north London, but the German wants £350,000-a-week, per Cross.
Ozil has come in for criticism this season, being branded a “liability” in the 1-0 defeat to Stoke back in August by BT Sport analyst Steven Gerrard, per James Dutton of the MailOnline.
The 28-year-old subsequently responded to his critics and urged former players to support Arsenal, with a lengthy post on Instagram:
Sports presenter Jacqui Oatley has said that Ozil has got off lightly and that many former players have even stronger opinions:
Jacqui Oatley @JacquiOatley
Amused by Ozil’s criticism of ex-Arsenal players in the media. If only he realised how much they’re holding back on how they really feel!
Ozil tends to polarise opinion, largely due to his languid playing style; however, his ability to create chances for his team-mates is unrivalled in the Premier League, as shown by WhoScored.com:
Philippe Coutinho: Only Mesut Ozil (48) has created more clear-cut chances than Coutinho (45) in the Premier League since January 2013 https://t.co/LhPggCugGi
Arsenal risk losing Ozil for nothing next summer if he does not sign a contract extension, and with Alexis Sanchez in the same situation, the club will surely be eager to secure the German’s future.