According to Turkish publication Fotomac, Mesut Ozil is close to agreeing a January move to Fenerbahce.
Before we go any further, we’ll add our usual disclaimer that most reports out of Istanbul turn out to be nonsense.
That said, it’s fair to say the midfielder – Arsenal’s former record signing and current highest earner – hasn’t been flavour of the month at the Emirates for quite some time and it’s not wholly out of the question.
Fuelling the rumour is the fact the 31-year-old aggravated relations with the club’s owners this week when his comments about the alleged persecution of the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang sparked a backlash from China; a lucrative commercial market for the club.
The report, relayed by Sport Witness, claims that Fenerbahce’s sporting director Damien Comolli, once of our parish, was in London last week to nail down the particulars of a deal that would be something of a coup for a side outside Europe’s big five leagues.
Ozil’s agent has said previously that he’d quite like to play for Fenerbahce. In 2015, he remarked: “If he were to leave, Fenerbahce would be an option. After all, they are one of Turkey’s biggest clubs.”
It’s not particularly clear whether Fener are chasing a permanent or loan move for Ozil. At this point, we doubt anyone in the corridors of power at Arsenal will care either way. They’d probably be happy to shuffle him and his wages elsewhere just to focus on other issues.
Anyway, one to watch when the transfer window opens in a couple of weeks. It’ll be curious to see how Prince Arteta treats his former teammate.