Mesut Ozil “wants to stay” at Arsenal and is “not to be convinced” as his contract continues to run down, says Arsene Wenger.
Inability to tie the Germany international to fresh terms means that the Gunners continue to fend off endless rounds of speculation regarding the future of their World Cup winner.
Manchester United are reported to be keen on taking a proven performer to Old Trafford, with Jose Mourinho having worked with Ozil before at Real Madrid.
Wenger, though, has maintained throughout an unfortunate saga that the 29-year-old is not for sale and that he will eventually commit to fresh terms – and the Frenchman is not about to relax that stance.
He told reporters after seeing Ozil score a spectacular winner against Newcastle on whether added responsibility will help to convince a top talent to sign: “No, I believe he wants to stay. He is not to be convinced.”
Wenger then added when asked if there is a need to hold further contract discussions: “Let us do that and let’s not talk about it.”
Frustratingly for Arsenal, Ozil is not the only player heading towards the free agent pool.
Several other senior stars are in the same position, with Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez among them.
Keeping all of those considered to be vital to the cause would be the preference, and Wenger is reluctant to be drawn on whether certain individuals are deemed more important than others.
He said when quizzed on whether Ozil would be a bigger miss than Sanchez: “I wouldn’t like to compare.
“You want nobody to leave and see where we stand on that. But at the moment, it’s very difficult. Until the end of the season we know what he is, but after that I cannot tell you.”Arsenal need everyone to remain on top of their game at present, with an important week set to see them take on London rivals West Ham in a Carabao Cup quarter-final before welcoming Liverpool to Emirates Stadium for a heavyweight Premier League encounter.