Thierry Henry has urged Mesut Ozil to sign a new contract at Arsenal and become a club legend by leading them to their first Premier League title since 2004.
The Germany international has 18 months to run on his deal, with negotiations ongoing as the player looks for assurances over the long-term future of manager Arsene Wegner, who is only contracted until the end of 2016-17.
Henry believes Ozil’s is telling the truth over the reasons for the delay in signing, despite reports claiming he and Alexis Sanchez – who is also out of contract in 2018 – are demanding huge wages.
The club’s iconic former striker pleaded with Ozil, 28, to commit to Arsenal and feels the team can be built around him if he opts to stay.
“He has said he wants to know if Arsene is staying beyond the summer,” Henry wrote in The Sun on Sunday.
“I’m an Arsenal fan. For that reason I’m desperate for him to stay. But I understand his predicament. I was in the same situation in 2007 when I joined Barcelona – with a heavy heart. I didn’t know Arsene’s plans, either, as he was coming to the end of a contract then, too.
“People will say it is all about money for Mesut and that Wenger’s contract is a smokescreen. We don’t know. We have to trust what he says. Respect it.
“Mesut has won the World Cup with Germany. But at club level, he has only one title, with Real Madrid in 2012. He will be desperate for more.
“But he can do that at the Emirates. That is why I would urge him to stay and become an Arsenal legend.
“Win that first title. Be the future of Arsenal. Not just the assist man, but the guy who drives the team forward. He can do that with Alexis Sanchez.
“They have to be at the top of their game every single match. They can be those guys. They must believe it.
“This Arsenal side are not far from winning the title. They are not a young team anymore. Mesut, [Petr] Cech, Nacho [Monreal], [Laurent] Koscielny, [Olivier] Giroud, Sanchez. All the way down the spine they are around the 30 mark.
“If this team win the league they will go down in history. They will be special. Mesut can be remembered as one of the club’s greatest-ever players.
“That is a wonderful thing to look back on when you have hung up the boots, believe me.
“He can make this Arsenal HIS team. Make the Emirates HIS home. Make it HIS era at Arsenal.
“The Emirates has two FA Cups – he can give it its first title. That is history right there. Become a legend.”
Ozil is expected to start when Arsenal take on Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday, a match that could see them go second in the table with a victory.