Mesut Ozil's links with a move to Manchester United continue to gather in momentum, with the latest report fuelling the suspicion that a January transfer could be edging closer.
A back page story in Friday's Daily Mirror suggesting Ozil has 'told his Arsenal team-mates' that he will link up with his former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho at United in January comes from reliable sources and adds to the suspicion that, at the very least, one side in this simmering narrative are keen for the transfer to go through at the start of 2018.
With Ozil's Arsenal contract set to expire next summer and the German World Cup winner showing little willingness to extend his stay at the club, a January move now looks inevitable for a player who has started the last two Premier League games warming the Gunners bench.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger may be reluctant to sanction Ozil's move to a Premier League rival, but his confirmation last week that deals to sell both Ozil and his team-mate Alexis Sanchez in the upcoming transfer window were 'possible' appeared to pave the way for deals that will give Arsenal some financial return on high profile assets who will be able to officially start negotiating lucrative free transfers for next summer on January 1st. In reality, those talks will already have begun for representatives of Ozil and Sanchez, with the prospect of both ending up in Manchester now realistic.
United's local rivals Manchester City are expected to make fresh move for Chile attacking star Sanchez after a transfer deadline day deal fell through in August, but the prospect of Ozil's moving to Old Trafford may not be greeted with the same level of euphoria.
When an English Sunday newspaper broke the story that Ozil was keen to explore the prospect of a move to in late September, many United fans on social media channels reacted with a mixture of surprise and confusion.
After all, this is a midfielder who has struggled to live up to his billing since his club record £42.4m move from Real Madrid in the summer of 2013, with Arsenal fans who defended Ozil with gusto against a vocal army of critics in his first three years at the club losing faith with his limp performances in the last year and more.
Ozil's tendency to go missing in big games has been a recurring theme of his time at Arsenal and yet Mourinho has always been a firm fan of a midfielder he helped to develop at Real Madrid and these comments back in 2013 confirm just how much he admires his subtle talents.
"Ozil is unique. There is no copy of him, not even a bad copy," declared Mourinho. "He is the best No.10 in the world. He makes things very easy for me and for his team-mates with his football vision and the decisions he makes. Everyone loves him and sees a bit of Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane in him.
"He’ll always finds the right man on the right place. So, sometimes, you don't see him, sometimes he doesn't go to screen many, many times. But when he goes he is a special player.
"If you are expecting Ozil to be super aggressive and running miles and miles side to side and to show great enthusiasm and aggressivity - this is not Mesut.
"If you are waiting for somebody who every time he touches the ball, the ball smiles and every time he makes the pass the ball goes in the right direction with the right speed and intensity - this is Mesut."
They were gushing comments from a manager who is noted for gravitating towards players who display a lion heart spirit on and off the field and while Ozil does not seem to be a 'Mourinho type-player' for so many reasons, it is clear that the Portuguese tactician has a special place in his heart for the 29-year-old who has scored 32 goals in 167 appearances for Arsenal.
Whether Ozil will now continue his Premier League career in the red of Manchester United is is a question that will be answered in the coming weeks, but this story is moving beyond the realms of tabloid and Twitter speculation as the January transfer window looms large on the horizon.