Jose Mourinho has shrugged off Mesut Ozil’s claim that he would rather retire than join Tottenham, with the Spurs boss pointing out that nobody has presented the German with that dilemma.
A World Cup-winning midfielder finds himself firmly frozen out at Arsenal, with Mikel Arteta taking to leaving the 32-year-playmaker out of his Premier League and Europa League squads in 2020-21.
Ozil is being edged towards the exits at Emirates Stadium as a result, with his lucrative contract running down towards free agency.
He has admitted that moves to Turkey or MLS would appeal, amid talk of interest from teams in both of those areas, but no deal has been struck as yet to get him off the Gunners’ books.
Ozil is a proven Premier League performer, with questions asked of whether Arsenal have taken the best course of action this season, but he cannot see himself representing another club in England – particularly one on the opposite side of a fierce north London divide.
Mourinho is not overly concerned about that, with the Portuguese telling reporters when asked about comments in which an experienced performer said he would hang up his boots before heading to Spurs: “Who told him that Tottenham would be interested in signing him?”
While brushing aside that jibe from Ozil, Mourinho does have transfer matters to contend with in the January window.
Harry Winks has seen a move away from Spurs mooted, with La Liga giants Valencia said to be keen on taking him on loan, but the England international’s boss insists he is going nowhere.
Mourinho said of the speculation surrounding a 24-year-old midfielder: “What do I have to say to stop with this talk? I said already that he's going nowhere.
“When I say he's going nowhere, what more do you want me to say? He played the last matches. He didn't play the last one because it was a chance to let players like Gedson get minutes.
“Tomorrow [against Fulham] he's selected again. If someone's talking to other clubs I'd say don't waste your time.”
Mourinho went on to reveal that Erik Lamela, who has been left out of recent squads following a breach of coronavirus protocols, could come back into contention for a meeting with the Cottagers.
Spurs have been handed a midweek derby date at late notice, having seen Aston Villa forced to postpone their intended home meeting with Mourinho’s men due to a Covid-19 outbreak.
Tottenham saw similar action taken when they were due to host Fulham back in December and they have no sympathy for rivals having to tweak their plans at the last minute.
Mourinho added: “Are you serious? They [Fulham] had 48 hours to prepare for this game. Look, I had the news that I wasn't going to play them two hours before the game started.”