Reported Manchester United target Mesut Ozil has played down talk of an exit from Real Madrid. The attacking midfielder has faced criticism for his performances this season and had even been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu, with Manchester United said to be interested.
However, the Germany international attacking midfielder has said he only has thoughts of staying with Real.
“When you play for Real Madrid you cannot think of anything else," he told Bild. "I know nothing and I have no reason to leave.''
Ozil has found his playing time limited in recent weeks, particularly with the arrival of Luka Modric, but started in the Clasico against Barcelona on Sunday and set-up Cristiano Ronaldo’s second-half equalizer. The 23-year-old has said that the criticism did not impact his form.
“I don't have to prove anything to anyone,” he explained. “I do not play football to prove something to someone, but because I enjoy football.”
A move for Ozil always appeared unlikely—not only due to the difficulty in prizing him away from Real, but because he occupies the same position as recent United signing Shinji Kagawa. United’s need appears to be for a deeper-lying midfielder in the mold of another reported target, Juventus’ Arturo Vidal.
However, the Chilean has also claimed he has no desire to leave his current club.
“I’ve not thought about it [moving to England or Spain], he told FIFA.com. “I repeat that I’ve very happy here and if I had to spend the rest of my career here I’d do so gladly.”
Vidal has impressed in Turin since joining from Bayer Leverkusen last summer and helped the Bianconeri to an unbeaten run to the Serie A title last season.
Manchester United will also face a battle on their hands should they pursue their mooted interest in Malaga’s in-demand attacking midfielder Isco. The 20-year-old is also said to be on the radar of Manchester City, Juventus, Arsenal and Liverpool on the back of some eye-catching form for the La Liga outfit in recent times.
While clubs were likely hoping to take advantage of Malaga’s much discussed financial problems, sporting director Mario Husillos has dismissed the notion that Isco will be allowed to leave for anything less than his €21 million (£17m) buyout clause.
"He is our player and is important for the team,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “He is not on the market.
"We want to keep him here but you all know there is a buyout clause in his contract.
"So, if a club pay the clause, it does not depend on us anymore."
While the competition will be fierce for Isco, a similar situation is shaping up in the hunt for Torino center-back Angelo Ogbonna. The 24-year-old Italy international has impressed in Turin and has been linked with several clubs including Manchester United and Liverpool.
Ogbonna recently spoke of the link with Liverpool.
"It is flattering to be linked with Liverpool Football Club, one of the biggest clubs in the world,” he told Sky Sports. “It's very famous.
"However, my contract with Torino expires in 2016 and I like Torino as a club. But you never know."