Ozil pledges loyalty as Arsenal eye Celtic defender Van Dijk
Gunners call International Rescue with a Dutchman and New Zealander set to ease defensive crisis
There is dispiriting news today for all those Arsenal fans who had hoped they'd seen the last of Mesut Ozil. Metro reports that the workshy German midfielder has quashed speculation that he's "already played his last game for Arsenal" by pledging his loyalty through Twitter.
As we reported yesterday rumours have been growing that Ozil, currently sidelined with a knee injury, would sign for Bayern Munich in a £30m deal in January. But in a message posted on the social network site, Ozil made it clear he was going nowhere just yet. "Thanks for your support following my injury. I'll come back on the pitch soon as I can to help #AFC. Now and in the future," he wrote.
Ozil is just one of the players queueing outside the physio's room at the Emirates, and Arsenal's injury problems are so bad Arsene Wenger could be forgiven for dailing Thunderbirds and asking for International Rescue... and now and it looks like Virgil is at least on his way, as the Daily Express reports that the Gunners are lining up an "£8m swoop for Celtic star Virgil van Dijk to ease defensive crisis".
With Arsenal players dropping like flies this season manager Arsene Wenger has apparently fingered the Dutch centre-back as one of the rocks he needs to shore up his defence in the new year. The Express claims that the Nutty Professor had his scouts run the rule over Van Dijk when the Scottish champions played Dinamo Zagreb in their recent Europa League encounter. The scouts were "impressed by what they saw" and as a result the 23-year-old will be brought to the Emirates in January. Which means he should be out injured by February.
Meanwhile the Daily Star says that Arsenal are one of several Premier League clubs to receive a "boost" with the news that West Ham are "refusing to up their contract offer" to Winston Reid. The Gunners, along with Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham, have been monitoring Reid in the knowledge that his existing deal expires at the end of the season.
The New Zealand international signed for the Hammers from Danish club Midtjylland in 2010, and was a player of the year at Upton Park in 2013. The Star says the Hammers have made Reid a tidy new offer, but he's rejected their proposal and it looks increasingly likely that the defender has his sights set on bigger and better clubs. Apparently Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers and Tottenham gaffer Mauricio Pochettino are "watching the Kiwi's situation" as are Louis van Gaal and Wenger.
Van Gaal is also preparing to act in order to keep goalkeeper David de Gea at Old Trafford, after a string of eye-catching performances alerted Real Madrid to his talents. The former Atletico Madrid stopper hails from the Spanish capital and, according to the Daily Mirror, Real president Florentino Perez is "preparing a £25m bid to take him home".
De Gea has been United's most consistent performer since the retirement of Alex Ferguson, although he has found himself with a lot more to do since the Scot stood down in 2013. But as he enters the final 18-months of his Old Trafford contract next year, United are preparing a new five year deal worth £120,000-per-week.
The future of Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot remains as confused as a speech from Ed Miliband as Talksport reports that his move to Roma has once again collapsed. That will put lead in Arsenal's pencil as the Gunners are known to be interested in the 19-year-old midfielder, who is currently out of favour at the French champions. With the teenager's contract expiring at the end of the season it had been believed Rabiot would sign for Roma but the move never materialised, much to Rabiot's chagrin. He told French broadcaster Canal Plus. "I don't know what went wrong... Everything had gone the right way and it was my choice, I thought of wearing the Roma jersey."
Asked about the possibility of a move to Arsenal he replied: "We'll have to wait until January and see what to do... [but] I don't know if I will play for PSG again, as I don't enjoy being in the reserves. I am at the disposal of the coach and he will be the one to decide."