International television producer and entrepreneur Acun Ilıcalı got the Turkish media talking about the possibility of Mesut Özil playing in Turkey next season when he dropped a big hint on an Instagram live story.
Ilıcalı is known to be a close friend of Mesut and suggested to his viewers that the Arsenal playmaker could be heading to Fenerbahçe, who are known to be long-term admirers.
“There are requests to bring him to Fenerbahçe. I think there may be nice things soon. I have such feelings. I love Mesut very much. I am from Fenerbahce. I think that when Mesut’s contract is over, Fenerbahçe becomes my favorite. Because our president is a president who can bring Mesut.”Acun Ilıcalı as quoted on Hürriyet, translated from Turkish
Of course, this could just be him being optimistic, giving false hope to Fenerbahçe fans in the process, but if there is substance behind his statement, it would not be the first time Mesut has appeared to be Fenerbahçe-bound. In fact, after he signed an extension in 2018 that saw him become Arsenal’s highest earner, he even promised his mother that he would eventually play for and potentially end his career at the Turkish club.
Özil is now 31 and will be out of contract in 2021. The Arsenal hierarchy were already hesitant to extend his contract further, given Arsenal’s massive wage bill, and his recent decision to refuse the 12.5% pay cut (which was accepted by other players) will not help his chances of staying at the Emirates too much longer. We can even speculate that he may have already left, had another club been willing to pay those wages. If a substantial offer comes in this summer, Arsenal may have little choice.
Fenerbahçe, who consistently finish in the top three of the Turkish Süper Lig, could be an attractive destination for Mesut, who is of Turkish descent and recently had a child with his wife, Turkish actress/model Amine Gülşe.
Header Photo: Ronnie Macdonald, 2013