Reports are coming out of Emirates Stadium that Mesut Ozil is refusing to sign a new contract unless he is given his favoured number 10 jersey. The German superstar is out of contract at the end of the season and could theoretically leave for nothing, giving him a fair bit of negotiating power with his long-term employers.
Ozil was unable to take over his preferred shirt number when he signed, as it was already held by Jack Wilshere, but with the England midfielder in seemingly permanent injury recovery and only able to get himself on the park for Europa League matches, the Arsenal transfer rumours suggest the German international is making a power play.
It's not for lack of trying that Arsene Wenger's Arsenal haven't signed up Özil. They have tabled a contract offer of £250,000, but the former Real Madrid man is refusing to agree to it. It's thought that the reasoning behind Ozil's desired shirt is that it ties in with his personal brand, M10, the handle of his Instagram.
He recently took over the German number 10 shirt on the retirement of former Arsenal star Lukas Podolski and thus wants to tie in his club shirt number to that. Oh, and he plays in the number 10 role, of course, which gives him all the excuses he needs not to run anywhere. He's an artist, dontcha know?
Arsenal have Alexis Sanchez in a similar contractual position and have been burned by players in the last year of their deals in the past. Robin van Persie refused to sign a new one back in 2012 and left for a fraction of his real value to Manchester United, where he promptly won them the title and picked up a player of the year gong in the process. The latest Manchester United transfer rumours are implying that Ozil might travel the same path, with Jose Mourinho a known admirer of his dating back to their time together at Real Madrid.
Robin van Persie
Credit: PA Images
Of course, whether Arsenal fans actually want Ozil to sign another deal is another thing. His form has been less than impressive so far this year and many seriously question his work rate. Arsenal being Arsenal, the chances are that he'll leave for United for nothing and immediately rediscover his form to sweep everything before him.
Bear in mind, though, Mesut, that big Zlatan is in the Man United 10 shirt at the moment, and you wouldn't want to get on his bad side...
Featured Image Credit: PA Images