The world’s greatest player killed the dreams of Germany international Mesut Özil of moving to the Camp Nou. According to Diario Gol, 30-year-old Lionel Messi thinks the 29-year-old is “very old”.
While the Blaugrana still hold Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho, 25, as their prime target this winter – despite internal opposition – there is a growing feeling in Catalunya that the Brazilian will not be allowed to leave Merseyside until next summer at the earliest.
Likely to cost a fee of £20-30m in January, Özil is very much seen as a cost-effective solution to the desire to improve Barcelona’s squad.
Despite wage demands which run close to £300,000 per week, the initial outlay to Arsenal is such that the Blaugrana cash reserves will not be hurt by his signing, especially as they are looking offload some fringe players in the squad.
However, Messi is concerned that the German has an alarming habit of disappearing in big games and believes the Blaugrana can find a mentally tougher player next summer.
According to the report, Messi was also alarmed by news out of Madrid that Özil was a “night owl”. It’s claimed that Real president Florentino Perez has privately let it be known that the German liked to be seen in “fashionable places” instead of preparing himself for matches properly.
The inference is an astonishing insult to Özil whose religious beliefs preclude alcohol.
And is at odds with Perez’s publicly stated love for the player, whose sale funded the purchase of Gareth Bale, 28, from Tottenham.
With the Welshman out of favour at the Bernabeu, questions are being asked of Perez’s acumen in the transfer market and it seems he is trying to scupper Barcelona’s hopes of signing a player who is still hugely popular among the Real faithful.