Anyone who has become uncomfortably familiar with daytime TV during lockdown will have seen those charity adverts. You know the ones: ‘text GIVE 5 to donate £5 to help a donkey sanctuary near you’ and the likes.
Well it seems Fenerbahce are taking inspiration, because according to reports in Turkey, they’ve set up a similar initiative…to help them sign Mesut Ozil.
The 31-year-old has been spiralling steadily towards the exit door since Unai Emery arrived at Arsenal, and despite a brief revival under Mikel Arteta, criticisms of his fitness, work-rate and commitment have bled into the Spaniard’s tenure.
He is yet to appear post-lockdown and was left out of the expanded 20-player squad altogether to face Manchester City on Wednesday, with Arteta admitting he had simply ‘not done enough’ to merit a place in the squad.
Despite this, Ozil is reportedly keen to see out the final year of his contract, and his apparent reluctance, dismal form, advancing years, and meteoric wages mean there isn’t exactly a queue round the block for his services.
Fenerbahce, however, are one club who have held a long-term interest. They flirted with a move in the summer and in January, and although they were never able to get a deal over the line, reports in March suggested they were still ‘working hard’ to make a deal happen.
In order to make it financially viable, FotoSpor claim that the club will launch an ambitious initiative that aims to raise a portion of his transfer fee through a premium SMS service.
The project, given the catchy moniker “Mesut Özil to 1 million SMS” will see the club appeal to fans to donate 20 Turkish Lira (€3), with the aim of reaching one million donations.
Should they do so, the €3m raised through the initiative would be matched by the club, and that €6m – FotoSpor claim – will be enough to secure his signing.
Having said that, freeing up the £300,000+ he is paid every week may well be the primary motivation of a potential sale from an Arsenal perspective, but it should be noted that €6m does not even account for half of his current salary, so they may well have to expand the parameters of their fundraiser.
If Ozil fails to lift his game between now and the end of the season, however, there might be a few Arsenal fans on the lookout for that phone number.
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