With the January transfer window fast approaching, football fans everywhere are beginning to dream about which new players. Interisti are no different and perhaps the most intriguing name at the moment is that of German attacking-midfielder, Mesut Ozil.
Before we get into specifics, it is important to note that this rumour came about after an article published in The Sun. Now, to say The Sun is an unreliable source would be a huge understatement. The chances of there being any truth to the story that the player’s agents will be meeting with Nerazzurri this week are somewhere between unlikely and impossible. That said, it’s been a tough week for the fans so let’s look into the potential move.
Could Inter Sign Ozil?
Put simply, probably not. Inter Milan are a club under huge financial scrutiny from UEFA, but the screws are about to be loosened. The club is approximately six months away from being free of the FFP restrictions which have impeded the Suning Group. Indeed, financial security has been a priority for the owners since they took over and they are unlikely to make any risky moves that could jeopardise the budget. Indeed, last January saw the club limit itself to the free loans of Rafinha and Lisandro Lopez - despite the squad having much more gaping holes than the current season.
Why is this important? Well, it’s hard to see Ozil coming to Inter on the cheap. The Sun suggested the player would be available for somewhere between €25 and 30 million, but it is hard to see why. The German still has almost three years to run on his contract, and Arsenal are one of the richest clubs in the world. According to Transfermarkt.com, a more realistic valuation of the player is €45 million.
Assuming Ausilio (and Marotta) could work some magic with Arsenal’s management, Inter would then need to make a salary offer to the player. Ozil is currently the second highest paid player in the English Premier League - commanding a whopping €17 million gross annually. To put that in perspective, Mauro Icardi brings in a paltry €9 million (gross). The club has been engaged in long-running negotiations with their Argentine captain about increasing his salary to a number which would still be less than the German. Add to that his increasing years (Ozil turned 30 years old in October) and any new contract would be incredibly expensive for the Nerazzurri. Not to mention leaving them open to increased wage requests from the rest of their squad.
If anything were to happen, Inter would be relying on (a) significant pressure from the player and his management, or (b) a complete breakdown in relations between the club and player, to the point that they just want him gone. Indeed, Ozil does not seem to be justifying his current salary. While the Gunners have come along in leaps and bounds under new manager Unai Emery, their #10 has not necessarily been a vital part of the team. If, by chance, the rumours of the breakdown between player and manager are true, then perhaps Arsenal would consider Ozil a negative influence in the dressing room, and look to offload him. If the clubs were to agree, then the player himself would need to agree to a significant pay cut in order to fit within Inter’s strict wage structure.
Should Inter Sign Ozil?
Despite his impressive CV, Ozil is still a player who divides opinions. Many observers will look at his body language or distance statistics and immediately disregard him as a ‘lazy’ player. No doubt, they would be accurate too. He is not one to harry the opposition defenders into making mistakes, or sprint 40 metres to make a last ditch tackle. However, he was (or is, considering there are still rumours linking the player to Manchester United) a favourite of Jose Mourinho - a manager who is unlikely to pick any player he regards as a defensive liability.
What would Ozil bring? Put simply, goals. He may not score them, but the German brings an assist record that is almost unmatched in world football. He has 72 assists in 208 games for Arsenal, which followed on from 80 in 159 appearances for Real Madrid. When he left Los Blancos, none other than Cristiano Ronaldo criticised the move stating that the German was the player who knew his movements best. Right now, Inter are blessed with one of the most dangerous predatory strikers in world football, yet he is limited to two or three chances a game. Imagine what sort of scoring threat Mauro Icardi would pose with Ozil behind him...
Does he fit in the team? Absolutely. Inter’s last match against PSV showed just how toothless we are in the middle of the park, and how important a quality attacking midfielder is. Radja Nainggolan has performed well at times but is simply not on the pitch enough at the moment to be relied upon. Sure, he could be a week or two away from recovery, but he’s just as close to another injury. Without him, the club is left with Borja Valero as the only player accustomed to the role and he simply isn’t able to compete regularly at the highest level. With Ozil, Spalletti would have a world class trequartista, but also a player able to play on either wing should the Belgian return.
Questions remain over his health and fitness. The player has missed a number of games this season due to a back complaint, whilst also being left out due to ‘illness’ seven times since the beginning of the calendar year. As stated above, Inter have enough injury issues to worry about with Nainggolan - could they really take a risk on another incredibly expensive player? And, if they did, what would that mean for the other gaps in the squad? Spalletti still needs a proper replacement for Marcelo Brozovic, and may need to replace Miranda if the rumours of a transfer request are true. If Ozil were to arrive, you can expect he’d be the only move of the summer.
In short, Inter currently have no player like Mesut Ozil. He would offer the team creativity and assists that they have been sorely lacking. However, he would likely come at an astronomical cost and represents a risk due to his age and injury record. A transfer (or loan move), therefore, remain highly unlikely. People said Ronaldo was unlikely to leave Real Madrid, however...
What do you think? Post your comments below!