Arsenal and Mesut Ozil are close to finalising an early termination of the midfielder’s contract, after which he is expected to join Fenerbahce as a free agent on a three-and-a-half year deal.
The 32-year-old, who is Arsenal’s highest earner, has not played for the Gunners since March after being frozen out by manager Mikel Arteta.
Ozil was not registered in Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads this season and has been free to talk to other clubs since the beginning of January with his Gunners deal expiring in the summer.
The former Germany international is now expected to join Fenerbahce during the January transfer window, with the Turkish club hopeful of confirming the deal in the coming days.
The developments come after progress was made in talks between Arsenal technical director Edu, Fenerbahce director Emre and Ozil’s agent. The Gunners made it clear they wanted Ozil to leave in January.
Ozil’s wages – he currently earns around £350,000 per week – are not expected to be a problem, and it is thought he will forego a portion of the outstanding pay on the remainder of his Arsenal contract.
Fenerbahce are under increasing pressure to meet financial fair play regulations and made it clear throughout the negotiation process that they would be unable to pay any significant transfer fee to Arsenal.
The club will be helped by part of Ozil’s overall income agreement being funded by the Istanbul-based Exxen Media Group, which in return will retain some of his image rights.
Emre – who spent three years as a player with Newcastle – believes Ozil can play a key role as a mentor to Fenerbahce’s young players.
Ozil’s representatives were also in talks with MLS side DC United. In a Twitter Q&A earlier this week, Ozil expressed his desire to play in Turkey and the US before he retires.
In response to another question, he wrote: “If I went to Turkey, I could only go to Fenerbahce.
“I grew up as a Fenerbahce fan as a kid in Germany – every German-Turkish person supports a Turkish team when they grow up in Germany.
“And mine was Fenerbahce. Fenerbahce is like Real Madrid in Spain. The biggest club in my country.”
Ozil, who arrived at Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013, scored 44 goals and registered 77 assists in 254 appearances for the club.
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