Turkish midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup is at the centre of a tug-of-love between Premier League rivals Arsenal and Everton, according to the Daily Mirror.
The Besiktas star was formerly a trainee at Arsenal’s academy but left after he failed to impress Gunners boss Arsène Wenger during two League Cup appearances. Since moving to Istanbul, Ozyakup has made 193 appearances, scoring 27 goals and racking up 43 assists.
Arsenal, keen to replace Mesut Özil, 29, are keen to bring their old boy back to North London now his footballing education is completed.
Capped by his native Netherlands at youth level, Ozyakup switched allegiance to Turkey and after making his debut in 2013, has won 30 caps. The 25-year-old is currently seeking better contract terms with the defending Turkish Super Lig champions and is attracting attention from elsewhere, despite his contract not expiring until 2022.
Everton is another English team preparing to entice the midfielder to the Premier League. The Toffees, mired in a relegation battle, are keen to strengthen their squad in January and are willing to pay £13m to secure Ozyakup’s services. At that price, Arsenal faces plenty of competition for their ‘old boy’.
The Merseysiders are set to decide on caretaker manager David Unsworth’s fate soon as they seek to replace Ronald Koeman. Steve Walsh, former chief scout at Leicester City, is keen on Ozyakup and with a strong track record of finding gems where others dare not look, has plenty of experience in bringing players to English football’s top flight.
However, the prospect of proving himself on his old stomping ground may prove too much of a temptation for Ozyakup to resist.