Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that contract talks with Mesut Ozil have slowed down, but he remains hopeful of re-signing the soon-to-be free agent.
Ozil, like team-mate and Manchester City target Alexis Sanchez, is out of contract at the end of the season and the Germany international has been linked with a move away from Arsenal - with Manchester United the latest to be credited with interest, as Jose Mourinho has worked with Ozil before at Real Madrid.
As doubts grow over the World Cup winner – who will miss Arsenal's Europa League opener against Cologne on Thursday – Wenger said: "Of course [I am hopeful].
"The contract talks have slowed down a little bit since August 31, because we need a little breather and to focus on the competition. But we will slowly get back into that."
While Arsenal will be without Ozil ahead of their trip to Premier League champions Chelsea, they will finally be able to call upon Jack Wilshere.
Injuries have derailed Wilshere's career at the Emirates Stadium but the 25-year-old midfielder is set to make his first senior appearance for the club since August 2016, having spent last season on loan at Bournemouth.
"You have certainly seen the video of him when we played against Barcelona — his game is about that," Wenger said.
"He needs a little burst to get away from people because he can move the game forward and, if you can move the game forward, you need your legs to get you out of pressure.
"That will come back [for him] — it is coming back in training. He is very hungry and sharp. He is not completely at his best, but he is getting there. He enjoys being back and competing for his place and what I see in training is positive."