Manchester United has been dealt a big blow in their pursuit of Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil. The German international is set to leave the Gunners soon and is entering the final six months of his Arsenal contract. He is free to talk to clubs when the transfer window opens in January and according to latest reports, Ozil is ready to negotiate terms with La Liga giants Barcelona. The Catalans are considering making a swoop for the Gunners star which has handed Arsene Wenger a major headache of whether to sell the midfield maestro in January on a possible cut-price deal or let him run down his contract at the Emirates and leave for free in the summer.

The 29-year-old fancies a move back to La Liga where he has already played with Real Madrid earlier in his career and can open talks with Barca on January 1 as his contract is set to run out in the summer. It was also reported that Paris Saint-Germain, Fenerbahce and Manchester United were all keeping tabs on the player with only the French club that can afford his massive £330,000-a-week wage demands.

Now, Barcelona are ready to swoop in and recruit Ozil on a bargain deal next month. The German international might be viewed as an ideal alternative for their long-term midfield target Phillipe Coutinho.

This recent development will come as a huge setback in Jose Mourinho’s attempts to add a world-class playmaker on the cheap. With Ozil looking set to join the Catalans, let’s take a look at a few alternatives for the Red Devils to consider next month.

Leon Goretzka

The German midfielder is currently in a very similar situation to his international teammate Mesut Ozil with just six months left on his Schalke 04 contract. He can start talking to foreign clubs in January after appearing in 12 matches for the Bundesliga club this season which has seen him score 4 goals and provide an assist. He is definitely the kind of player Mourinho is looking for and might be recruited by exhausting minimal financial resources.

Mateo Kovacic

The Croatian international has struggled to find regular game-time in Real Madrid this season and might be weighing his options after falling down the pecking order under manager Zinedine Zidane. The 23-year-old has just made 10 appearances in all competitions for the Los Blancos so far. He still has his peak years ahead of him and the Red Devils can benefit with his addition to Mourinho’s starting eleven at Old Trafford.

Marcelo Brozovic

The Inter Milan midfielder has been in sensational form in this campaign and has scored 3 goals while also making an assist in 15 appearances for the Serie A side. The Croatian is highly regarded in Italy and a move for him before the FIFA World Cup in 2018 might be good business as Mourinho looks to add some creativity to his midfield.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.