Shkodran Mustafi is open to the possibility of staying with Arsenal past the summer, feeling that he has managed to rebuild his relationship with the club’s supporters, as revealed by the Evening Standard.
The 27-year-old defender has been on the brink of departure for a long time having failed to impress. His mistakes have often cost Arsenal points, and that has, naturally, led the supporters to lose faith in his quality. Many, including us here, have openly declared Mustafi not good enough to represent a club aiming for the top end of the Premier League, but it seems the centre-back is finally doing the best he can to prove otherwise. Since Mikel Arteta took over from interim boss Freddie Ljungberg, Mustafi has been given another chance ahead of the likes of Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Rob Holding, and his performances have taken an upwards trajectory. Against Olympiacos in the Europa League round of 32 on Thursday, he was nothing short of fantastic.
However, it does seem a bit like he’s pointing the finger the wrong way. He says he felt he was being scapegoated for ‘wider issues at the club’, but there’s no way to escape the fact that he simply wasn’t up to scratch for a long time. His relationship with the fans has always been down to performances, and the fact that they’ve begun to change their attitude towards him with better displays really shouldn’t come as a surprise to him. As long as he stays focused and gives 100% on the pitch, something that hadn’t really been a part of his game before, he will always feel strong support oozing from the stands of the Emirates stadium.
He did admit as much in the end.
“Then, obviously, when you play well they appreciate your performances, but it makes it easier when you have the fans behind you, back supporting you, so I am happy for that,” he said.
When he was asked about whether he saw himself at Arsenal next season, he said: “Why not?
“I have always taken things day by day. We had a game on Thursday, we have the next important game at the weekend and as long as I am playing for a club — it doesn’t matter which one, I play now for Arsenal and played before for previous ones — I always give everything until the last minute.
“When I decide, or when the club and I decide, it is going to continue, I am happy to continue. If not, then we have to go forward.”
Arsenal play Everton at the Emirates on Sunday, and they can be backed at 1/1 to win.