Is This How Mesut Ozil Would Fit in Jose Mourinho's Manchester United Team?

Mesut Ozil would rather a move to Manchester United than Barcelona should he decide to leave Arsenal in the January transfer window, according to reports.

Ozil's contract at the Emirates Stadium expires at the end of the season, meaning he will be free to open discussions with any club he wishes in the new year.

Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, insisted the club was still negotiating with Ozil, but the German international has reportedly already turned down an offer of £235,000 a week.

Jose Mourinho and Manchester United have been assessing Ozil's situation in North London with an eye on grabbing a bargain next year. United are more likely to pay Ozil the £300,000-a-week he is seeking, and despite Barcelona's interest the Daily Mail say he would prefer United.

Ozil and Mourinho have history with each other after working together at the Bernabeu Stadium from 2010 through 2013, winning La Liga together at Real Madrid. But how would the playmaker fit in at Old Trafford?

It is likely that Mourinho would see Ozil filling the same role he had at Real, in the attacking number 10 position, just behind Romelu Lukaku or Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in a 4-3-3 formation. Ozil's creativity, his ability to pick a pass, would benefit Mourinho's wide players at United, whether that be Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial or Jesse Lingard.

Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, England, December 10. Ozil's contract at Arsenal expires at the end of the season. Catherine Ivill/Getty

The surprise from many in the Premier League at Mourinho's interest in Ozil is down to the criticism that he leaves the defense exposed. But, while the Portuguese demands this from all of his players, Ozil would be judged on his assists—as he was in Spain.

Such was Ozil's importance to Mourinho's team, Cristiano Ronaldo publicly criticized Real Madrid when it decided to sell him to Arsenal in 2013. "The sale of Ozil is very bad news for me," Ronaldo said at the time. "He was the player who best knew my moves in front of goal. I'm angry about Ozil leaving."

Sergio Ramos, the Real Madrid defender, shared Ronaldo's opinion. "Ozil would be the very last player who I would sell from Real Madrid, if it was up to me," he said. "I don't understand this."

In the season before Ozil was sold, he provided 13 assists in 32 games, as well as creating 92 chances for his teammates. It is these kind of numbers that Mourinho hopes could aid the goalscoring woes of Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku, the Belgian striker, was signed by United in the summer from Everton for £75 million. His start to life at Old Trafford was electric: 11 goals in his first 10 games. But then came the drought. Wednesday's (December 13, 2017) winner against Bournemouth was only Lukaku's second in 10 Premier League games.

Although United have rarely struggled in the goal-scoring department this season, Mourinho has opted to play without a creative number 10, while Pogba has been sidelined for much of the season. This has, ultimately, left Lukaku feeding off scraps in attack. With Ozil behind him, the Belgian could finish the season competing for the golden boot.

Mesut Ozil and Jose Mourinho
Mesut Ozil, left, and Jose Mourinho at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain, December 16, 2012. Ozil thrived under Mourinho at Real Madrid. Denis Doyle/Getty