Report: Arsenal's Mesut Özil in talks with D.C. United originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil is reportedly in discussions with D.C. United about an “attractive” offer that would bring the European soccer star to the MLS, Chris Wheatley of Football.London reported.
Özil is currently under contract with the Premier League’s Arsenal F.C., but he has not registered any action for the Gunners during the current season and is reportedly training away from the team. The disconnect between the two sides stems from Özil reportedly turning down a pay cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the club’s financial standing.
The report notes that a deal with D.C. United would offer Özil a chance to expand his brand beyond soccer, with a merchandise line and more. Washington Post reporter Steven Goff, however, says the two sides have talked on and off since 2019 but insists that nothing is imminent.
The midfielder burst onto the European scene after a strong performance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup while playing for his native country of Germany. Following that summer, Özil joined Real Madrid and played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo from 2010-2013.
Özil then transferred to Arsenal in 2013, and the $42.5 million euro transfer fee made him the most expensive German soccer player of all-time. The relationship started off well. Özil helped end the club’s trophy drought with an FA Cup championship during the 2013-14 season.
The following seasons were impressive as well. Özil was the Premier League assists leader in 2015-16 and was named Arsenal Player of the Season by the club.
Come 2017, the midfielder began losing playing time due to injuries and dwindling returns from his performance. Now, it appears the two sides have reached a breaking point.
Coming to the MLS would instantly make Özil one of the bigger stars in the league. It would also mark the second time in recent years that DC United has brought over a big name from a European side. The team signed Wayne Rooney in 2018.
Arsenal wouldn’t be sad to see Ozil go. He makes $476,779 per week and doesn’t play. He’s not even on the bench for Premier League games. That’s not really sustainable and with the winter transfer window now open from Jan. 2 to Feb. 1 allowing teams to make moves, Ozil’s salary opening up would help the Gunners make other necessary moves as they sit in 11th place in the Premier League with 23 points.
Whether that’s in the United States with D.C. United at a much lower cost remains to be seen.