Manchester United are preparing a bid for German midfielder Mesut Ozil, as his club Werder Bremen are reportedly willing to sell the 21-year-old playmaker for as little as £13.5m.
Ozil is entering the last year of his contract, and with the possibility of seeing their prodigious talent leave for free next summer, Werder have made him available for a reasonable fee.
Sir Alex Ferguson was at Craven Cottage on Saturday to watch Werder’s friendly match with Fulham, and the United manager will try to convince the club’s owners of the value in signing Ozil for such a price.
United are 6/1 to win the Champions League, and while Ferguson maintains that he is happy with his current squad, Ozil would be an excellent addition to a club hoping to compete for numerous trophies.
While the squad has undoubted strength in depth, United are a little light in terms of midfield creativity.
Indeed, with Paul Scholes in his twilight years and Anderson failing to fulfil his potential, Ozil would be the ideal candidate to inject guile and imagination into Ferguson’s side.
Ozil is a transfer target for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, but the player’s representatives are said to have been underwhelmed by their negotiations with the Spanish giants.
As a result, the former Schalke player’s future appears to be in the Premier League, where Manchester United and Chelsea are the chief suitors.
Ferguson will be wary of Chelsea’s potential to hijack such a move. Also at 6/1 to win the Champions League, Chelsea could call on Roman Abramovich’s many millions to add Ozil to an already star-studded midfield at Stamford Bridge.
A player heading for the Old Trafford exit, meanwhile, is defender Craig Cathcart, who is set to join Blackpool for a fee of £500,000.
Blackpool are the favourites to finish bottom of the Premier League this season, at a convincing price of 4/5, and they will need to add yet more new players to their squad if they are to survive.
Who do you think will be battling Blackpool at the foot of the table? Wigan are 8/1 to end the season as the top flight’s bottom side. See the full Barclays Premier League Betting Odds market.