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Fenerbahçe agrees in principle to sign midfielder Özil from Arsenal: report

Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Özil passes the ball during the UEFA Europa league round of 32 second leg football match between Arsenal and Olympiakos at the Emirates stadium in London on Feb. 27, 2020. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

Fenerbahçe will sign German midfielder Mesut Özil from Arsenal for three-and-a-half years for an undisclosed fee, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing Turkey’s private Demirören news agency and other Turkish media outlets.

While there was no immediate comment on the reports from Fenerbahçe, broadcaster A Spor said Özil and the club had agreed on the transfer in principle and that the 32-year-old would join the former Turkish champions later in January.

Fenerbahçe Chairman Ali Koç said previously that signing Özil, who has Turkish ancestry, was a “nice dream” for the club, who have suffered from financial woes in recent years. Koç had said Fenerbahçe would need to offload players to make any transfers in January.

Özil fueled rumors about a move to Fenerbahçe with an Instagram post about İstanbul on Tuesday. The German has not played for Arsenal since March 2020 and was not named in the squad list for the first half of the current Premier League season.

He has long been linked with a move to Fenerbahçe, Turkey’s second most decorated club.

Özil, who is one of the highest-paid players at Arsenal, is out of contract at the end of the season. But the club is looking to offload players in January to trim the squad.

Last week, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta had said the club would wait for the January transfer window to make a final call about the German national’s fate.

Arsenal is currently 11th in the standings on 23 points, while Fenerbahçe is fifth in Turkey’s top tier Super Lig on 29 points, two behind league leaders Gaziantep.

Özil sparked controversy in 2018 when he was photographed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, raising questions about the footballer’s loyalty to Germany on the eve of their disastrous 2018 World Cup campaign.

In the wake of the World Cup fiasco, Özil announced his resignation from the national squad, saying, “I am German when we win, an immigrant when we lose.”

Özil was married in İstanbul in June 2019 with Erdoğan as his best man.

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