It has been a relatively busy January transfer window at the Emirates. Left-back Sead Kolasinac rejoined Schalke 04 on loan, the contract of Mesut Ozil was terminated and the Germany finally left to join Turkish side Fenerbahce, centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos also had his deal terminated, while Arsenal brought in attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on loan for the rest of the season. That all happened earlier, but here’s what was done on Deadline Day.
Schalke have approached the representatives of Shkodran Mustafi to see if a Deadline Day deal can be agreed for the defender to join the Bundesliga side, according to multiple sources.
The situation apparently stems from Liverpool’s reported move for Schalke’s Ozan Kabak, with the Premier League champions very keen to sign two centre-backs this window. They’ve reportedly already agreed a deal for 25-year-old Ben Davies of Preston North End, having been forced to use midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson in the heart of defence lately through a heavy injury crisis. The Merseysiders are now pushing for a loan deal for Kabak with an obligation to buy in the summer, but the whole business hangs on whether Schalke will complete the deal for Mustafi – whom they’ve identified as a suitable replacement – by 5PM CET, the deadline to sign players for the Bundesliga clubs.
Shkodran Mustafi has opened talks with Arsenal over the possibility of terminating his contract early, according to football.london.
The defender has only made nine appearances in all competitions this season, three of those in the Premier League, and he hasn’t played at all since coming on off the bench for the final minute of the Gunners’ Boxing Day triumph over Chelsea. Even more to the point, manager Mikel Arteta left him out of the matchday squad for the FA Cup clash with Southampton on Saturday, while naming both Matt Ryan and Alex Runarsson, two goalkeepers, on the bench.
It has been a significant summer this year in terms of incoming transfers at Arsenal. The Gunners obtained the services of defender Gabriel Magalhaes, defensive midfielder Thomas Partey, winger Willian and replaced the departed Emiliano Martinez with Runar Alex Runarsson as the number two goalkeeper. They also extended the loan of midfielder Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid by another year, as well as the contract of defender David Luiz, and turned the previous loan spells of defenders Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares into permanent ones. But perhaps the most impotant piece of business of all was captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signing a new contract. Arsenal reportedly made a late effort to bring in Houssem Aouar from Olympique Lyon, but that did not come through.
According to football.london, Shkodran Mustafi rejected an offer of a new contract from Arsenal during the summer and told the club he will leave at the end of the season.
The 28-year-old defender arrived to the Emirates from Valencia back in 2016 for a considerable fee, reportedly amounting to £ 35 million. His time at the club has been full of ups and downs with his form rarely showing any signs of consistency. He could play a fantastic game one week and then follow it up with a shambolic performance the next. Capable of playing on either side of the centre-back pairing, he has also been known to step in as a right-back, particularly in the final stages of 2018/19 when Unai Emery lost his faith in Stefan Lichtsteiner while Hector Bellerin was injured. Overall, the Germany international has made 143 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions, scoring nine goals.
Having lost narrowly to Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday, Arsenal are preparing for a trip to Vienna where they will take on Rapid in the opening round of this season’s Europa League campaign on Thursday. Meanwhile, let’s take around at some recent news reports concerning the club.
Rob Holding was pulled out of the starting line-up on Saturday due to an injury suffered in the warm-up process. The 24-year-old defender has had some serious issues during his career, and any sign of a problem is likely to cause worry for Mikel Arteta, especially given that he’s been on a fine run of form lately. He came close to leaving to join Newcastle United on loan during the summer transfer window, but the move eventually fell through.
Mikel Arteta has indeed instilled a new sense of team play since he stepped into the Emirates dugout, there can be no doubt about that. However, the defeat in the North-London Derby on Sunday has highlighted the same problems the Gunners have been struggling with for a very long time.
Arteta has indeed increased Arsenal’s ability to control games. The high possession percentage from the Derby (62%) backs that up, albeit with a slight reservation given that Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho rarely ever cared about his teams seeing more of the ball. But once again it mostly comes down to individual mistakes.
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.
Pointing fingers has always been a popular thing for people to do in this game, because it’s often much easier than accepting any of the blame. However, in certain instances, the finger pointing is more than worth it – especially when it comes to Shkodran Mustafi.
The controversial defender was back in the starting XI for the game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, with the hope being that he would be able to rise above the criticisms he’s been receiving as of late by putting in a decent shift. If you watched his second half performance and nothing else, then you could argue that he had a good game. Aside from that, though, there wasn’t really all too much to scream and about, unless you were doing so in frustration.
“I managed to try to block it out a little bit. I was not that active on social media and wasn’t reading comments, I wasn’t too concerned about social media, I just wanted to go back on the pitch and give everything because I knew that in this moment I was not playing the football I know I could play.
I was just talking with the closest people around me like my family, my parents, my wife, my kids, and this helped me to forget about everything. In the morning when I was coming to training, I would just focus on the training and then go back home to spend time with my family. I tried not to read too much stuff that people were saying.