In Focus: Ozil contract would round off an impressive deadline day for Arsenal

According to BBC Sport, attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil has signed a new contract with Arsenal until 2021.

What’s the word?

The German playmaker’s contract situation, alongside Alexis Sanchez’s, has lingered over Arsenal like a dark cloud for the best part of the last 18 months. With just six months remaining on his current deal, losing Ozil for free in the summer would have been a big blow to the Gunners, especially after begrudgingly allowing Sanchez to leave for Manchester United in a swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

But he’s now signed a three-year contract that would make him the best-paid player in the club’s history, taking home £350k per week. That essentially rules out the chances of a summer transfer, free or otherwise, and could keep Ozil at the club until the age of 32.

Why today?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed a club-record transfer to Arsenal earlier today and that appears to have been the trigger in securing Ozil’s future as well. Ornstein – perhaps the most reliable source of Arsenal news going – claims the terms of the deal were agreed last week, but the 29-year-old finally put pen to paper this morning. That’s possibly because Aubameyang’s arrival was confirmed.

He’s undoubtedly a big signing for the Gunners and the deal is a real sign of intent from a club that has just lost a key player to a divisional rival and slumped down the pecking order at the top end of the Premier League in recent years. Most importantly, signing Aubameyang and sealing Ozil’s services beyond the summer creates a real sense of positivity at the Emirates Stadium that was desperately needed after Sanchez’s departure.

Too little, too late?

Sceptics will wonder what could’ve been if Arsenal had wrapped up Ozil’s contract saga a lot sooner. After all, they’ve essentially granted – or perhaps even exceeded – the wage demands the World Cup winner made a few years ago, alongside Sanchez. Had Arsenal agreed to them then, this whole mess ending with the Sanchez-Mkhitaryan swap deal may not have happened, and the Gunners wouldn’t have endured such an atmosphere of uncertainty over the last 18 months.

The big question, too, is whether signing Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang really changes Arsenal’s season. They’re still the likeliest side to miss out on the top four, they’re still shipping defeats on the road and they’re still suffering from defensive problems. For now though, Arsenal fans can enjoy what will be viewed unanimously as the best Deadline Day possible for the north London club – they’ve signed one of the best strikers in Europe and in another transfer boost, won’t be losing Ozil any time soon.

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