Friday, December 1, 2023

Emery tells Mustafi and Elneny to find ‘another challenge’

Unai Emery has made it clear to Shkodran Mustafi and Mohamed Elneny that their playing time will be seriously limited at Arsenal this season, and that the best thing for their careers would be to leave North London for a new club.

Neither player has featured so far this season, and the manager’s message comes not long after another interview in which he suggested the German would be advised to depart North London after three years.

Having signed in 2016 for £35m from Valencia, Mustafi’s stock has fallen considerably, while Elneny barely played at all in the Premier League last season.

The signing of David Luiz and the return of Rob Holding has pushed Mustafi down the pecking order, while the Arsenal midfield is an already competitive place even without Elneny.

Speaking ahead of the trip to Liverpool on Saturday, Emery said, “They are very big players but for one circumstance or another they are going to have fewer chances to show their capacity or to be happy with us and the minutes they play in matches.

“But they know the situation and really I am wishing the best for them. I think now the best for them is to be protagonists in another team and to get another challenge for themselves.

“Last year with Mustafi and Mo, when they didn’t play they weren’t happy and I spoke with them a lot of times last year and this pre-season.

“I think it is positive for them to leave and sign for another team where they can be protagonists and be happy and continue their careers.”

The transfer window across Europe remains open until September 2nd, and Arsenal will be looking to move both players on permanently, seeking transfer fees which will help offset this summer’s spending which included £72m on Nicolas Pepe alone.

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Good riddance to the Wenger era dross. Couldn’t be happier that this club is finally holding a high bar for talent.


Yeah. Bye Lacazette and Aubameyang, good riddance!


I take it that you missed the ‘dross’ part.


Two “rights” don’t invalidate the two “wrongs” though . Wenger made good signings but he made bad ones as well and we must recognise both.

Christopher Gatt

Was Wenger the main player in these signings? There has been so much change in how a club is managed and how transfers are conducted. These days it was not Emery that got the plaudits for these transfers but Raul Sanllehi. Would it be plausible to even think that Wenger might not have had a say for some of these older transfers?


Signings are always hit and miss, sometimes the player whilst being good does not fit the system and goes on to become great elsewhere, mustafi whilst being slagged off by all to kingdom come does possess some footballing ability hence the World Cup Winners Medal that even Van Dijk can dream about. peopole need to relax and take a step back, Arsene Wenger is and always will be a LEGEND for AFC, the corruption of the game by petro dollars, russian mafioso and corrupt hedge fund owners was always going to push us out of the running, yet he stuck… Read more »


Everybody makes bad signings; one just hopes the good signings out-number the bad!


Exactly. It’s amazing how Le Prof’s friends in the media haven’t called him on the garbage he signed and then overpaid. The big problem in getting rid of these two is the stupid money that Wenger decided to pay them.

I just hope that they are not just lingering around the club this season.


Wenger clearly had already lost control of transfers by the time Auba joined. The new team is being much more proactive in moving players on vs simply letting them run their contracts down and leave for free or virtually nothing


Can’t you guys just lay off Wenger for once? You remember the dross but not the glitter he brought. The Bellerins; The Holdings; etc -all quality he brought in for virtually nothing. Leave Wenger alone and support your team for once


Wenger did a lot of great things but he left the club in a shambles we are still digging out of.

Olivije Žirod

Shambles you say? What about Ferguson who left Manchester United in a much worse shape. Left his successor a squeezed squad without any youth player breaking into the team. I don’t see any United fan complaining and they are still feeling the consequences of it. What we are currently experiencing is normal for the club. We are no near the mess some fans think. If we were we wouldn’t be paying 80 million for Pepe. Also the squad in the last 3 years was capable of finishing in the top 4.


Ferguson left a title winning squad. Wenger left a team that has almost entirely been replaced. In the 15 months since he left and who finished in 6th place his final year and with virtually all out top assets available for free transfers. The difference is we had already fallen so much that the drop wasn’t nearly as significant one year to the next

Olivije Žirod

Ferguson left an exhausted and old squad. The only reason they won the league a previous year is Ferguson and of course Van Persie. Like Van Persie took barely top 10 Arsenal squad to the 3rd place. He knew that and that was a big reason he retired. We changed a lot of players since Wenger left I agree but not many people (including you obvious) noticed that Wenger already started the transition in his last season. Gibbs, Gabriel, Ox, Coquelin, Walcott, Alexis, Giroud and Debuchy all left in that season. That is 8 first team players which is a… Read more »



The issue with your logic is Sven & Raul had already effectively pushed Wenger out of running transfer policy by the winter of his last year as it was clear he likely was out of the club. The majority of signings/ out goings you are citing didn’t actually happen under Wenger’s direction – they were down to Sven & Raul.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Do you know anything about Arsenal during the time was our manager? Nobody other than Wenger makes decisions about transfers. He makes his choices and others help him make the transfer happen.


It was very clear Gazidas had stripped Wenger of some of his power (with Stan’s blessing) the final winter window after Sven/Raul joined. For most of Wenger’s time you are correct. However it’s abundantly clear Wenger had nothing to do with signing Auba, selling Walcott etc. the team was performing so badly by that point that I suspect the club leadership already had decided Wenger would only return with reduced transfer control if he returned at all


Actually the main reason they won that year was talking Scholes into postponing his retirement. Red nose’s new, young defence was crap at the start of the season. Add Scholes in front as a make do solution and….

I still reckon that if other teams had continued trying to run in behind that defence, rather than coming over all terrified after they got a few wins, it could have been a very different story that year.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Four easy games lost at the end of last season with plenty of gifts from other teams. The easiest path to top four yet we did not achieve it. We also got crushed 4-1 in Europa League final. No new defensive tactics from the new manager that works and people are still blaming Wenger.


To be fair every game we went into we HAD to win which was why we got caught…if you had told us we didn’t have to win the last 4 only draw i can bet we would have kept a point here and there.

Max Fischer

We didn’t have to win each game we went into at the end of last season…we literally could have drew just one of the three games vs either CP, Wolves, or LC and we would have finished ahead of the Spuds.


Didn’t Ferguson leave Utd. as EPL Champions? We paid for Pepe (£72 million, not £80 million) by extended instalments, as we did for most of the other transfers. That’s how we managed to make a small budget go a long way. “Capable of finishing in the top four” isn’t the same as actually finishing in the top four, is it?


One of the absolute massive things that Wenger has done
since he left is to stay away from the club. This goes totally unrewarded amongst fans and media alike.

Can you imagine if Wenger did a Fergie and attended matches, unintentionally attracting media attention and adding further pressure onto a new manager?

Shows class and perception from Wenger who can easily tell that his mere presence at an Arsenal game is going to add unnecessary emotions to a a game that, during this transition, the club, team and fans could do without.


Notice finishing in the top4 is no longer looked down on. It is a trophy. Wengers was flawed in many ways but in certain areas he truly was way ahead of the game.


Was scrolling down the comments section when I came across this reply!! Wenger has been and always will be le prof!!


The reason why you never see Wenger at the Grove is because he probably isn’t welcome there. And I should imagine that, being the sad bitter man that he is, Wenger is still sore that he was booted out on his backside. He probably thinks that he should still be the Arsenal manager, even after his pathetic final two years at the club.

Oh, I notice that still nobody wants to employ “the greatest manager of the century”


Fuck off Fats.


Tried to up-vote this twice, but they wouldn’t let me.

Cultured determination

He brought us the stadium and dismantled the invincibles to pay for it. With an average team and no budget he sustained almost 10 years of CL money for the club before crazy tv money came in. We’d have been in an even shittier place with the kronks if it werent for him


The fans brought us the stadium, we payed for it, the fan base being so big warranted it, the fans filled it. Spurs, no champions league for years have annew stadium, built on the fans loyalty and money. Managers dont bulid or pay for stadiums. The fans ultimately pay for everthing, be it shirts, merchandise, paying tv subscriptions to allow tv company’s to pay the clubs. It all comes from the fans, an empty stadium got Wenger the sack a full stadium pays for it. Cant stand it when people say wenger built us a stadium. He rightly took 8… Read more »


Wenger’s loyalty through the stadium build and the years that followed was a key factor, not least as the banks that financed it stipulated it. Wenger provided that stability. Ultimately the ‘customers’ of any business are what keeps a business going especially if you are self sustaining. Whether or not Wenger ran out of ideas and stayed too long is another issue and most would argue that he did, but whatever your view, Wenger is a thoroughly decent man in a pretty murky industry. I’m proud he was associated with our club for so long.

Maul Person

So the fans pay the TV money and the commercial contracts too? Damn, we’re good!!


without the fans, no one would watch football. Therefore there would be no TV money or commercials Einstein.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

@Voldermort there would be no fans if we weren’t in the champs league every year watching some of the most entertaining football the world had to offer. That was down to him.


Exactly. Everyone is crying out for Rob Holdings return forgetting who recruited him for 2mil in the same year city payed 50mil for John Stones.

YOLO Toure

Couldn’t agree more. Let’s be clear as well – you can only really act with the information you have at the time, and at the time Musti was a good defender coming off the back of just having won a world cup. Sure £35m was a lot for him, but at the same time there are plenty of players others bought who turned out to be duds (e.g. Mangala). Elneny was a punt, and he was alright for a bit (I still think he is to be fair) but it’s also a good thing that he should be moved on.


Yes, despite the negative votes, you’re right. The main reason why we can’t offload players – and we all know which ones have been in the press recently – is because they are on wages which do not reflect their performance level and which other clubs won’t match. Unless they are willing to take a pay cut, we can’t shift them. We mustn’t forget that it was in the Wenger era that the club’s pay structure was smashed when they were panicked into agreeing the £350,000 a week for Ozil – a decision that has been regretted ever since. It’s… Read more »


It’s funny how you lot conveniently attribute the outgoings and the shiny new toys (Auba & Lacazette) to “Sven & Raul”, but use contract renewals such as Ozil’s and not so shiny toys (Mkhi & Kolasinac) that happened around the same time as sticks to beat Wenger with because God forbid Arsene got anything right in his last years. Also, let’s just ignore the part that all these kids (Niles, Willock, Nielson) we love so much (with the exception of Matteo) got their first break in the first team under same Arsene. Good lord


Also, the kid (who Arsene happens to rate) Matteo replaced in the Arsenal squad because he couldn’t fit into our shiny new manager’s plans just got a €30m move to Lyon and is considered a much bigger and better player in France.


Fats, I recalled you wrote recently your would take this season off. It’s overdue.


Wenger hasn’t been called out? For fucks sake, he’s been called out for everything under the fucking sun, moon and all the planets in the solar system. He’s probably even been blamed for Pluto being/not being a fucking planet!

Jeezus, broken records dragged out of the storage shed around here today.


To be fair to Wenger, this isn’t an exclusive problem for him.

My Cousin Vinai

I see there any need for the “good riddance” part?
They’re not commodities but are human beings, at least treat them as such. Not like they’ve been cunts to the club or anything.

Just can’t understand such behaviour.

J to the C

Totally agree. They haven’t performed they way we would have hoped but they are players that have given their best for the club. They are effectively being fired in football terms, I’m sure it’s not nice being told you’re not wanted.


Unfortunately, such is the level of ungratefulness on the part of some Arsenal fans, am afraid. Even a man who sacrificed the best part of his life on this club is branded a villain by some, so using such phrases on Elneny and Mustafi should be taken as a pinch of a salt, to put it mildly. Don’t stress yourself too much about it.


Some of yall sound like fanatics, cursing Arsene for what happened towards the end of his tenure. I’m not a Wenger apologist but cut him some slack will ya?

Some of yall are worst than Piers Morgan, and that says alot coz he doesn’t rattle on about Wenger anymore.


@Gunnermite, I won’t be surprised if some ‘fans’ call for Ceballos to return to Madrid early after some bad games.


They are human beings doing a job to the best of their abilities. Not dross. No need to demean people in this way because they did not reach the standards needed.


I remember very good that when we were in negotiations with Valencia over Mustafi, as we thought he isn’t worth 35 m, a big majority of the fans were complaining about penny pinching from Arsenal and that this is what it takes to sign a German World Cup winner and that we should pay what they ask for as he’s the man we need. I guess these are the same guys who now blame it on Wenger and act as if they always knew he‘s shite.


The guy has a point. For all we gets strengths he would never be this ruthless with players we want rid of, this seems like the only way to push them out so I applaud the manager




Wow, that’s a lot of down arrows! To be more clear — and perhaps just as unpopular — I welcome the Raul era where crap players are told to shove off, rather than paid exorbitant, out-of-market, socialist wages and then stuck on our roster and payroll forever.

All clubs will misfire on transfers, but it was uniquely Arsenal to never move those misfires on.

Wilsheres Middle Finger

I think Emery is confusing the word ‘protagonist’ with ‘liabiity’.

Jokes aside I wish them both well in their future careers, at other clubs.

Mayor McCheese

I like that Emery draws on literary analysis when describing his players. I would like to hear more from him about antagonists, focalizers, climaxes, denouements, third-person narration, and free indirect discourse! For example, “I want the team to climax together in the right way.” That would be great to hear. And see.


seeing 11 men climax at the same time….. there are websites that can provide that. I dont need to see it during a football match hahah.

Mayor McCheese

There’s porn on the internet?

Donald's Trump


Wilsheres Middle Finger

Good ebening, together with our personality and process we will achieve our aim to climax together and achieve our aim for this seasons.


Sometimes it’s best to say it out loud, now every club knows they’re available, and puts pressure on the players to show their ambition to play football rather than pick up a cheque.


Yeah. Real ruthless streak here from the manager. He knows the longer they’re willing to Bogarde, the less of a budget he has for defensive (?) reinforcements. His job is on the line, and it might turn on a decent January window. This is what a little pressure and accountability produces, and I’m glad. As long as it never gets to Mourinho levels of proclaiming the whole squad is shit, but Emery just seems like more of a human and a professional than Mourinho. I will say I’m happier for us to put pressure on Mustafi than Elneny. Theres just… Read more »


Yes, mourinho certainly wouldn’t wish them the best that’s for sure. I like this ruthlessness myself it’s how a big club should be run, no one should be as comforts with averageness as it some have been over the past decade. They are all on their toes and that’s exactly how it should be.


Let’s hope both can secure moves to a slower league, so that they can showcase their positive attributes. It’s clear neither will ever make an impression in the PL, aside from the memory being burned into our collective minds of Mustafi sliding on his arse on his way to conceding an inevitable goal, and with Pavlovian regularity, blame his teammates.
Time for a change.


To be fair I think both could have done a job for a lower premier league side. Eleneny particularly never did much wrong, he’s just not adventurous enough for us. As part of a disciplined, structured midfield he’d be fine. Always ready to put in the miles.
To some degree I think if you dipped Mustafi into Burnley’s defence he’d be fine also… I imagine some would have considered that a fair punishment for him!!


Damn….that photo! Looks like he want’s to melt him….well actually it looks like he is!

Big Sheezy

I think it takes balls for Emery to be straightforward and address the issue and I admire him for that. These two men came to the club with the best intentions and gave their all, unfortunately they came up short. I don’t understand the need to call them names now that their time is up. I wish them the best and will root for them as long as they’re not playing against the Arsenal. Good luck.


Agreed. Best wishes as you blokes go on and be protagonists … somewhere else.


When your girlfriend breaks up with you: “Good ebenin. You are very a big person but for one circumstance or another you are going to have fewer chances to show your capacity or to be happy with me and the minutes we spend together. “But you know the situation and really I am wishing the best for you. I think now the best for you is to be protagonist with another girl and to get another challenge for yourself. “Last year with you, when you didn’t play you weren’t happy and I spoke with you a lot of times last… Read more »


Hopefully we can get both sold on to new clubs. That would be the best for all parties.

As mentioned, Mustafi’s flaw is in his concentration. He was no where as poor a player as many prefer to imagine him but we simply cannot afford those lapses either.

Elneny is a hard working but average player Wenger brought in to keep numbers. But we need better now from midfield.

If we can get 18-22m for Mustafi, it would be good going. Elneny I’d settle for 4-5m

Best of luck to them.


Meanwhile just because they’re gone does not mean our issues are suddenly solved.

In midfield we look stronger albeit it is a temporary solution with Cebellos till next summer.

In defense we still look shaky particularly in recent games aerial direct ball in.

Whether Luiz proves a strong panic buy/band aid or is barely an upgrade remains to be seen.

Hopefully Holding will return and step up this season and there are signs Chambers is getting his positioning slightly better although only time will tell.


I think the Arsenal fans who bash Wenger here need to take a seat back and remember, for one, Emery is only just in Season 2, I’m sure he does play some part in the signing of players, so let’s stop behaving as though every player he will sign will turn out a superstar. Luiz is not exactly spring chicken, as good as a defender he has been (and still quite error-prone), two, Raul and Vinai are not some flawless gods from the realms of football dealings, they are mere men and WILL make mistakes, it is also worth noting,… Read more »


This 100%. Mustafi, on paper, when he signed looked a really good fit. Had all the required attributes and was considered good value at £35m. If I really correctly, in his first block of games, he actually looked quite good. Relatively composed and quite solid. Then, it seems he’s had an injury and it seems a confidence hit, and it’s been mistake after mistake. He’s never really recovered his early form. I don’t think it’s helped that our defence has been so transitionary over the last few years and it really goes back to that Vermaelen injury. Bringing Per in… Read more »


…Unai’s English is getting much better. Manages the word “Protagonist”.

Good Ebening

He’s been using the word ‘protagonist’ ever since he came here. In Spanish it’s protagonista.

An honest Gooner.

I can see a change in attitude at the club which we have all craved for many a year. We have been a sympathetic club for too long, hence the years of shortcomings. It’s time to be ruthless and get rid of all of the shit, injury prone, bang average players we were riddled with in the last decade or so. Fuck Mustafi and fuck El Neny. Neither would get into any top 10 Premiership team so why should we carry them? No sympathy, the quicker we change this sort of attitude out of the club the better. Peace!


I love that Emery clearly just learned the word protagonist and is eager to show it off. If this was translated then never mind

Post January Blip

The word is almost identical in Spanish so I doubt he’s only just picked it up. It’s not the first time I’ve heard him use it either


Good point, hadn’t thought of that. Protagonista must be the word? And to be clear I find it endearing, not taking a shot at his English.


Haha it’s like that episode in Friends where Joey can only afford one encyclopedia book so he buys “V” and proceeds to insert as many words begining with V into a conversation as he can.


He used the word in his very first interview for Arsenal. “Possession, Pressing, Protagonistic” when asked to describe his philosophy.

Did we turn Mustafi crap or was he always crap?

Can’t help but feel the way we play (or used to play) did our defender no favours.


By Premiere League standards, nobody knows. He’s never played in it before. That’s just the way it is sometimes. A player can be good elsewhere, but doesn’t cut it in the Prem.


Yeah definitely little column A, little column B.

I feel the same way about Ozil. He’s talented enough to add a serious goalscoring element to his game, but he’s been under no pressure to do so.

The transfer fees for these guys would have looked laughably cheap if they were just pushed (or pushed themselves) to adapt their game a little, but too late now.


Mustafi I agree must go but is Elneny not useful to us? I would consider him decent enough to bring on against so called lesser opponents while other players are rested.

And there’s no need to be horrible about either of them. Mustafi has his issues but it’s nothing personal. It’s not like he has behaved badly or disrespected the club and the fans. He’s just not good enough and as such he needs to move on and that’s all there is to it.


I hate when fans talk about Wenger like a supreme being he done great things for our club, but he also made some shocking decisions that ultimately meant he was relieved of his duties. People say he sacrificed so much for the Arsenal he was a paid employee that earned well over 100million i wouldn’t call that sacrifice.


For fucks sake can we give the “it’s still all Wenger’s fault” a rest?


I agree there’s no point in disrespecting. But for midfielders, we’re pretty full up, and we need to make room for the younger players coming through. Willock is already showing himself so far to be able to keep Mo off the team sheet, and then we’ve got Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Ozil, Mkhi, Maitland-Niles, and Smith-Rowe. That’s 9 midfielders – three deep for a midfield 3! Then behind them for cup matches we’ve got a few in the Academy side like Saka and Burton who are showing they’re ready to get some cup time. There’s just not much midfield space… Read more »


I reckon we’ll get a bit of money for Elneny There must be plenty of clubs who would want him. The issue is Mustafi. Without resorting to being nasty but I reckon he’s a lot harder to move on.

cameron mcculloch

Regardless of who bought what player, it has to be up to the new manager to make the changes as he sees fit. If I recall correctly, there were huge flames on this site directed toward both of these players – at times really something to behold. Let us be fair, the new manager has given them a season, worked with them every day for a full year, trained them and asked them to play his style of football, which personally I believe we should by rights all be in agreement as a perfectly fair expectation. Yet as far as… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp

I love this ruthless side of Emery.


Honestly, this is better for the players’ careers. They’ve stayed long enough for us to gauge their level. Their squad places are better served giving it to a U21 player ready to step up. They’re both at ages where they can still play top level football. Easily for a mid table team in Italy, Spain or France.


Clearly it’s time for both players to move on, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for the club to issue statements to that effect. Humiliating them in public like this can’t be good for team moral, does nothing to sell the players to other clubs, and nor can it help to strengthen our hand in negotiations.

Billy Bob

I like the fact that Emery has openly said that “when they didn’t play they weren’t happy”, almost pushing them into proving it by moving elsewhere (especially as they have been told their game time with us will be next to nothing). I think Mo is a pro and will want game time elsewhere, Mustafi I get this horrible feeling will sit on his contract!!!

SB Still

Off topic:

In my dreams, we win the game against Pool with a score line of 6-8!


That’s not going to help us get the best price, though if they just want them gone I guess that makes it easier

North for short

I am not enjoying this Wenger bashing in this discussion. How many trophies did his teams win for us? How many years were we considered as Championship material? How many years has any Arsenal team gone without winning anything? Too many fans expect us to win everything, everytime. It is just not feasible, especially when other clubs are investing heavily in the transfer market. I enjoy Arsenal for Arsenal. I enjoyed for first 14 years of AW but then it got very samey. tippy tappy football and trying to walk the ball into the net. Against Burnley, we had a… Read more »


Wow. Some of you guys really are so bitter and completely out of order in regard to Wenger. Do you not remember the joke of a side we had become at the beginning of the Premier League era where scraping 1-0 victories were considered sufficient. When signing players such as Glen Helder and Chris Kiwomya were the height of our transfer dealings. We owe Wenger for what he did, and though things were not so great towards the end, they were down more to outside factors and internal constraints than to the man himself. The fact that he has not… Read more »

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