Mesut Ozil a shock target for Jose Mourinho if his Arsenal contract talks stall

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Mascherano making no excuses for sorry Argentina

Ozil’s agents plan to use Special One’s interest as leverage for a better deal from Gunners after talks which have been going on for months.

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The German superstar is yet to sign a new Gunners deal — alerting Manchester United boss Mourinho.

The Special One aims to take advantage of a stand-off between the midfielder’s advisors and Gunners chiefs over his wage demands.

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Ozil, 28, is already the club’s highest-paid player on £140,000 a week and Arsenal are praying that he extends a contract which ends in 2018.

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But their opening offer of a £20,000-a-week rise is way short of the £250,000 a week United are willing to pay him.

And while Ozil is playing the best football of his life and is not looking to leave Arsenal, he also refuses to sell himself short.

The German has maintained a good relationship with Mourinho since they won the Spanish title together at Real Madrid in 2012.

United accept there is no chance of Arsenal selling their £42.5million record buy in the January window.

But he believes a deal could be done next summer, if Ozil has still not signed a new contract.

The Special One suspects there is only a remote prospect of landing him but is happy for his interest to throw a spanner into the Arsenal works.

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Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has always maintained that the manager should be the highest-paid employee at any football club.

But Arsenal will have to overrule Wenger’s decree if they are to keep Ozil and star striker Alexis Sanchez.

Wenger, whose own contract expires in the summer, earns £160,000 a week and is unlikely to get much of a rise if he agrees to a new deal.

Yet Ozil and Sanchez are both looking for in excess of £200,000 a week — which would take the club’s annual wage bill beyond £100MILLION for the first time in their history.

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Arsenal value both players in excess of £75m in the current market but realise their asking prices will plummet if they are allowed to enter the final year of their contracts.

They are still confident a compromise figure can be agreed with both superstars, though fear they will have to rewrite their strict wage structure to do so.

That would not be a problem for Mourinho at United, who will have £10m-a-year Bastian Schweinsteiger off the payroll next year.

And he could also wave goodbye to £260,000-a-week Wayne Rooney and £220,000-a-week Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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