It is no secret that Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez are somewhat unhappy with the amount of success they have achieved at Arsenal, and both have been linked with a move elsewhere since the end of last season. Mesut Özil has drawn particular interest from Manchester United fans, as the German passmaster was a favorite under José Mourinho during their time together at Real Madrid. United have even been linked with Özil on a free transfer when his contract at Arsenal expires this coming summer, but how much do Özil and United really need each other?
Mesut Özil has an undeniable talent for threading passes and putting his team in a position to win games. Since his move to Arsenal in 2013 he has helped them to 3 FA Cup titles, and was an important member of Germany’s World Cup winning side in 2014. The question that remains is how impactful has Özil been for Arsenal when their title hopes are on the line?
Arsenal have a habit of starting strong before losing their footing in the Premier League title race, and have been particularly poor in big games over the last several seasons (since 2013/14 they are 2-6-13 against top 6 sides). Perhaps the “Wenger Out” folks are spot on, but Mesut Özil’s disappearance when it matters cannot be overlooked.
Özil would be reunited with Mourinho if he joined the ranks of red Mancunians, the manager under whom he had a consistent and successful stint with at Real Madrid, but is he good enough to start in the current squad? Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are the current favorite pairing in attacking midfield, and have played spectacularly. Mkhitaryan is beginning to fulfill a similar role to that of Wesley Sneijder on Mourinho’s Treble winning Internazionale side.
Özil is also not as energetic or as talented a dribbler as Mkhitaryan or Mata, and I don’t imagine he’d be happy coming off the bench. Especially when that bench includes one of Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini, and a soon to be healthy Zlatan Ibrahimović, who hasn’t yet ruled out another season at United.
The bright side of bringing Özil to Manchester United is the depth he would add to an already stacked midfield, and maybe with injuries United would have a use for him, but given the current squad it is hard to imagine Özil being at the top of Mourinho’s shopping list or United being Özil’s preferred destination.
Although, maybe it would be worth it for United fans just to see the look on the faces of Arsenal supporters when Özil leaves on the free for their hated rivals to the north.