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Ozil holds off Arsenal contract talks

Premier League

LONDON – Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil does not want contract talks to distract the club in the crucial run-in to the end of the season and will wait until the Premier League campaign is over before discussing his future, the German midfielder has said.

Ozil’s place at the club has been the subject of much speculation in British media, with reports suggesting the 28-year-old – whose contract runs out in less than 15 months – is refusing to sign a new deal of around £250 000 (around R4.2 million) per week.

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Mesut Ozil following the defeat to Crystal Palace on Monday. Photo: Matthew Childs, Action Images via Reuters

Arsenal are sixth in the league, seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, who have played a game more.

“At this stage I’m not important, what’s important is the club,” Ozil told British media. “We’ve still got a lot to aim for this season, to try and finish in the top four.

“It would be wrong to think about anything other than the football, and then we can talk again at the end of the season.”

Manager Arsene Wenger is out of contract at the end of the season, and calls for the Frenchman to end his 20-year reign at the club grew louder after they suffered their fifth loss in eight league games at Crystal Palace on Monday.

Ozil said Wenger was the main reason he had decided to join the club from Real Madrid in 2013.

“As players, we cannot decide who manages the club,” he added. “I’ve always said he was the most important reason in me coming here.”

Ozil, the club’s record signing, has faced fierce criticism following several below-par displays this term, leading to questions being raised about the German’s attitude.

“Maybe my style sometimes does make it look like I’m not 100 percent there,” he said.

“But that is my body language, that is the way I have always been. That is the way I am and I won’t change that.”

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