The endgame appears to be approaching for Arsenal and their out-of-favour playmaker Mesut Ozil.
BBC sports journalist David Ornstein has revealed on Radio 5 Live that Unai Emery has told Ozil it “would be best for him to leave the club”.
The German midfielder hasn’t played for the north London side since Boxing Day, and Gunners boss Emery is allegedly trying to force him out so his £350,000-a-week salary can be put to better use.
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Ornstein claims that Emery is backed by the Arsenal board, saying that “the hierarchy of the club feels that they would like him to move on”.
Asked why the board thinks Ozil should exit the Emirates, Ornstein replied: “I think that’s mainly financially driven for a player earning £350,000 per week. But it’s also related to the fact he is not performing anywhere near the level when he has played on a consistent basis as we know he can produce from the past.”
So who might Arsenal bring in to replace Ozil if he goes? According to The Sun, Yannick Carrasco and James Rodriguez are in Emery’s sights.
Belgian winger Carrasco was first linked to the Gunners last week, and it’s believed he would jump at the chance to swap Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang for the Emirates. Meanwhile, Colombian playmaker Rodriguez is said to be unsettled at Bayern Munich.
The Daily Mirror says that Rodriguez has failed to make much of an impression at the Allianz Arena since arriving on loan in 2017 from Real Madrid.
The Spanish giants don’t want him back, and the newspaper reports that should the Gunners be willing to stump up the £3m outstanding on his £11.5m loan fee, a deal could be reached this month.
But Bayern boss Niko Kovac has insisted: “He wants to stay with FC Bayern… he is highly motivated and focused. He can always help us with his quality.”
Asked yesterday about the transfer rumours - and in particular the possibility of securing a deal with Barcelona for Denis Suarez - Emery said: “In this transfer period it is not easy to take players that can help us with better performances than we have now.”
According to the Daily Express, Emery wouldn’t be drawn on the state of play regarding negotiations for 25-year-old midfielder Suarez.
“They are private conversations,” said the Spanish coach. “I don’t want to say to you what these conversations are.”
Ramsey deal soon?
In news from Italy, Sky is reporting that Aaron Ramsey has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Juventus. The Arsenal and Wales midfielder completed a medical in Turin last weekend and the move is expected to be made official in February.
Premier League fixtures
Saturday 19 January (3pm unless stated)
- Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Leicester City (12.30, live on Sky Sports)
- AFC Bournemouth vs. West Ham United
- Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace
- Manchester United vs. Brighton and Hove Albion
- Newcastle United vs. Cardiff City
- Southampton vs. Everton
- Watford vs. Burnley
- Arsenal vs. Chelsea (5.30pm, live on BT Sport)
Sunday 20 January
- Huddersfield Town vs. Manchester City (1.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Fulham vs. Tottenham Hotspur (4pm, live on Sky Sports)
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