Manchester United will have to "shift Henrikh Mkhitaryan out" to sign Mesut Ozil this month
Mesut Ozil has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United over the past few months.
The Arsenal playmaker is out of contract in the summer, and appears unlikely to sign a new deal with the Gunners. The link with United is an obvious one to make, as Ozil worked with Jose Mourinho while the pair were at Real Madrid together. He arrived at the Bernabeu in the same summer as Mourinho, in 2010, and left a few months after Mourinho departed for Chelsea in 2013, joining Arsenal in a transfer worth £42.5m.
During their time together in Spain, Ozil was a key player for the current United manager, and Mourinho even wrote the foreword to his autobiography. The pair have a positive relationship, and United could easily match Ozil's wage demands.
The Portuguese coach will probably feature heavily in Henrikh Mkhitaryan's autobiography, but possibly not in a positive light, and he certainly won't end up writing the foreword. Mkhitaryan appears to be in his final few months at Old Trafford, and Mourinho only seems to select him now so he can substitute him at half-time.
The Armenian started the season in brilliant form, scoring two goals and registering five assists in the first few weeks of the campaign, but found himself out of the team following United's defeat away to Chelsea in November. The 28-year-old has struggled to excel within the limited framework of Mourinho's reactionary tactics, and he reportedly had a training ground argument with his manager. He has rarely featured over the past two months, and his exit from Old Trafford now seems inevitable.
According to ESPN's Gabriele Marcotti, any move by United for Ozil in January depends on Mkhitaryan's future. If they can ship the player out of Old Trafford this month, they can then possibly make a move for Ozil. Marcotti also claimed on ESPN FC that Arsenal are still "pretty confident" that the German midfielder will sign a new contract with the club.
"Ozil is a slightly different situation (to Sanchez)," Marcotti said.
"The club say that, or Wenger anyway has said that he is pretty confident that Ozil’s going to extend his deal. But, of course, he's been saying that for, what, the last 18 months now? He's been linked again to Manchester United. I think United would have to shift somebody, most likely Mkhitaryan, to make that happen realistically."
A summer exit from Old Trafford for Mkhitaryan, followed by Ozil arriving on a free transfer, seems the most likely scenario at the moment, should the German decide to leave the Emirates. A swap deal between the clubs for the two players would probably make a lot of sense.