Arsene Wenger on Mesut Ozil: I believe he wants to stay at Arsenal
Arsene Wenger says Mesut Ozil is going through one of his best spells as an Arsenal player, and remains confident that the German wants to stay at the club.
Ozil's spectacular volley handed the Gunners a 1-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday, and he was also instrumental in the team's recent wins over Tottenham and Huddersfield.
The playmaker was heavily criticised for a poor start to the season but has re-established himself as the clear focus of Arsenal's attack in recent months. Asked if this is the best run of form Ozil has shown since joining the club in 2013, Wenger told a news conference: "Yes. Certainly I think he takes responsibilities and that is what you want from him.
"He is mature, he guides the team, they are aware he is a lot on the ball. Always your heart rate goes down when he has the ball."
Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are both out of contract in the summer, and while most assume the Chile international will be heading for the exit, Wenger is still holding out hope that Ozil can be convinced to sign a new deal.
"I believe he wants to stay," Wenger said. "I wouldn't like to compare [Ozil and Sanchez]. You want nobody to leave and see where we stand on that. But at the moment it is very difficult to [say].
"Until the end of the season we know what is, but after that I cannot tell you."
Ozil only has three goals and five assists in the Premier League this season, but Wenger said his biggest impact is "the influence he has on the collective game" and added: "You cannot score a goal like that every week but you can play like he plays usually every week so that is more important. If he adds that to his game then that is even more important."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.