Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil has insisted he is eager to return from injury to help the Gunners as soon as possible, following reports linking the German World Cup winner with a transfer to Bayern Munich. Özil is expected to miss up to 12 weeks with a knee injury to bring further disappointment to what has been a tough start to the season. The playmaker has struggled to impact games in a way befitting the £42.5 million Arsenal paid last summer to make him their club-record signing. He has been far from helped by being forced to play out wide and, indeed, his best performance came when played in his favored No. 10 role against Aston Villa.
A report in the Daily Mail claimed that Özil had become disillusioned, while Arsenal were also ready to listen to offers for the former Real Madrid man. Bayern Munich were willing to pay £30 million to sign the 25-year-old, according to the story. But Özil has taken to Twitter to apparently reaffirm his commitment to Arsene Wenger's side.
“Thanks for your support following my injury,” he tweeted. “I’ll come back on the pitch as soon as I can to help AFC. Now and in the future.”
It had been further speculated that the sale of Özil would allow Arsenal to complete a transfer for long-linked Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira. Özil’s compatriot was thought to be a strong target for Arsenal over the summer, with Khedira rejecting the chance to extend his deal with the European champions, which is set to expire at the end of the season. It has since been suggested that Arsenal could sign the all-round midfielder in a cut-price deal in January or wait to get him on a free transfer next summer.
They are unlikely to do so without seeing off some notable competition, however. Bayern Munich have also been linked, as have Chelsea. Now the Daily Express believes that Chelsea have gained the upper-hand on their London rivals. According to the tabloid’s report Real Madrid are keen to sign Chelsea’s now backup goalkeeper Petr Cech and are willing to use Khedira as a makeweight in a possible deal. It certainly seems possible, with current Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas continuing to struggle for form and Cech likely to be after regular first-team action after being usurped by Thibaut Courtois.
What is in doubt, though, is Khedira’s relationship with Jose Mourinho, with the Chelsea boss believed to have fallen out with much of his squad while he was at Real Madrid. Kheidra may also have doubts about whether he would play week-in, week-out at Stamford Bridge as he surely would do at the Emirates.
As well as a defensively minded midfielder, Arsenal’s squad is also in need of bolstering at center-back, where 19-year-old Calum Chambers, who has played as a right-back for much of his young career, is the only established backup for Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. Adding to the long list of central defenders to be linked with the Gunners, Scottish publication The Scotsman reports that Arsenal are preparing an £8 million bid for Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk in the January transfer window. The 23-year-old Dutchman is said to have impressed Arsenal scouts during a recent Europa League match with Dinamo Zagreb.
Elsewhere, Arsenal may have to forget about signing Barcelona wide forward Pedro, with the Catalan club ready to offer him a new contract, according to the Daily Mirror. It is believed that Wenger made an inquiry for the Spain international, whose first-team opportunities look set to be further restricted when Luis Suarez becomes available after suspension, last summer. However, he is now set to be given the chance to extend his stay beyond 2016.