Arsene Wenger “genuinely thinks” Mesut Ozil wants to sign a new deal at Arsenal, despite doubts over his future at the club growing.
With his contract expiring at the end of the season, Ozil will be able to negotiate a pre-contract deal with foreign teams in the new year.
However, Wenger has eased the fears of Gunners fans and insisted the German wants to prolong his stay at the Emirates.
“I cannot tell you what is in his mind. I genuinely think he wants to stay. But I am always positive about that,” he said.
The French manager also claims that supporters believing Arsenal are a better team without the former Real Madrid man are jumping too quickly to conclusions, and says he is one of the best in the world.
In Ozil’s absence, the Gunners have won five of the last six and drawn at Chelsea.
‘People go quickly to conclusions,’ said Wenger. ‘We live in the world where people have opinions and sometimes they are right and sometimes they are not always proven right on the longer period.
‘You need players who have quality and Ozil is one of the best players in the world.
‘Last season we played the last 11 games and won 10. We beat Man City in the FA Cup semi-final and Chelsea in the final and he played as well.
‘You can always find the example but it’s true we have done well recently.’
Wenger’s team selection for Arsenal’s trip to Watford on Saturday evening will offer a more telling indication as to whether Ozil, who has completed almost a week of full training, remains a key part of his plans.
‘He is only one week back in training and he has worked hard,’ said Wenger. ‘Of course, he is important but I have many players.’