If you had to sell two Arsenal centre-backs right now, there’s a fairly high chance you wouldn’t choose Shkodran Mustafi.
The German has started all seven of our matches since the season restarted and arguably been one of our most consistent performers. It’s quite a turnaround for the 28-year-old who was told last summer that he was surplus to requirements.
At the time, there was a lot of interest from Turkey but with no club willing to match his current wages he decided to keep his head down at the Emirates on the off chance his luck might change. That finally happened when Mikel Arteta replaced Unai Emery.
Having played just once in the league up to Christmas, he’s since missed just three of the last 16 games. Arteta even kept faith with the centre-back after a terrible mistake at Stamford Bridge that cost us a goal and a man.
The arm around the shoulder approach appears to be working and there’s even suggestions the club could soon extend Mustafi’s contract to stop him from leaving on a free next summer.
“I’m really happy with him,” said Arteta when asked about the possibility of a new deal.
“You can clearly see by the way he’s playing how committed he is with everything that we are trying to do.
“The level that he is showing in his performance every three or four days is really consistent. I’m really happy with him.”
Pressed a second time, Arteta seemed to hint that he’s told the player he’d like him to stay and that it’s now up to the club to negotiate suitable terms.
“I’m really happy with him,” said the boss “but that’s something the club has to address but he knows my opinion on that.”
Arsenal signed Mustafi from Valencia four years ago in a deal worth up to £35 million. If we don’t want to lose him for free then it’s a case of extending his deal or selling him this summer in the hope of recouping some cash.
Right now, it looks like Greek duo Sokratis and Dinos Mavropanos are closer to the exit although you wouldn’t rule out one of Rob Holding and Calum Chambers departing also.
Arteta has spoken previously about some tough decisions ahead, this is certainly one area where that applies.
In theory, Mustafi has all the attributes to be an excellent defender.
…except a footballing brain.
That is not true at all. Not only has he been defending well since Arteta came but also has showed what an excellent passer he is too
He’s been ok Martin, but let’s not rewrite history, he’s extremely error prone and we should move him on in the (later) summer.
As Andrew Allen pointed out, there are other candidates that could be sold instead of Mustafi rn. I think Arsenal needs to be ruthless and at least sell 3 defenders at a minimum. I would want another “top top quality” CB in addition to Saliba. Even so, I would keep Mustafi to provide consistency for next year while new CBs adapts to a new league and club. It definetely won’t be easy for Saliba to start producing right away in a league such as PL. I still cant believe we didnt buy Soyuncu after being so heavily linked last year.… Read more »
To be fair he was error prone under managers who had heard about defensive organisation but didn’t really know what it was. He is not the only one benefiting from having proper organisation. We have had a massive hole in our midfield for years now where the opposition were free to do whatever they wanted to do, having filled that massive hole seems to have helped us lately.
Honestly I think that is far too simplistic. You could have put any world class defender in our team last year and still they would have had moments like Mustafi. It was never the players individually that was the problem. The system was fucked, the coaching was fucked the midfield was certainly fucked. Look how many goals we shipped compared to now. Mustafi doesn’t deserve the shot he keeps getting, he has been proper good since Arteta fixed our team. I would pick him first, and absolutely offer him a new contract. He can play the ball very well, and… Read more »
I don’t know now. As a squad player/backup defender he could come in handy. Especially if there’s European games next year and also if Arteta continues to use a back 3. Saliba (have to think he’ll come right in), Luiz, Mari, Mustafi, Kolasinac, chambers when he comes back. If we can add another moderately priced prospect that’s a solid group of defenders. Not gonna win titles but a good start
Wise words John. We’re not mid table for no reason.
Top post, Karl. Well said.
He does have a footballing brain, except when he doesn’t. Too many brain farts has been the main problem with Mustafi. Most of the time he’s a very able defender, and many times our best one, except for those few moments in a game where he fucks up big time and we let in a goal.
Spot on. He just doesn’t think about the consequences of his actions. His habit of trying to blame other defenders and goal keepers for his mistakes is nauseating at best and downright selfish at worst. Awful player.
Can’t believe I’m saying this, given his history, but he’s been solid enough of late to warrant at the very least another season with us. If not as a starter, then certainly as a competent squad/back up option. Offer an extra year extension and make a proper decision in January about his future with us.
Why would he accept such uncertainty? He is not 33 years old yet.
Because he’s still Mustafi and we are still the Arsenal.
Whatever deal he gets elsewhere off of his five-or-so good games under Arteta is likely to be in a less prestigious league for much less money.
If he’s good for a full season though, his stock is likely to rise.
You have to consider that he’s already shown his intention to dig in and refuse to leave in multiple windows already. Even at 26/27, with his Arsenal career dead in the water, Emery publicly urging him to move – and he just accepted not playing (until injuries forced our hand). That being the case we’re very unlikely to get him to move on at 30/31, when hopefully we will have a stronger group of CBs Extending his contract to protect his value is misguided, we would have to accept that he’s ours for the entire length of the contract. 1… Read more »
I’d be quite sad to see Holding Chambers separated…or dismantled all together.
I think they are two seasons away from being great EPL defenders.
Keep em both.
Sokratis and Mav to go this season; Luiz to join next season.
But what about mustafi?
Rather have Holding and Chambers personally, guessing he is eluding to the same.
I don’t think they wud be a good partnership, there both to slow. But decent defenders.
Mustafi deserves credit for the way he’s performed these past few months, he’s shown good character to bounce back and right now he is probably our best CB. However, I would still not offer him a new contract, if we do aspire to get back to competing at the top we need stronger defenders than Mustafi. I’d be fine with him staying next season as backup and allowing Saliba time to adjust to the league but I think beyond that it would be best for him and the club to leave.
For now, Saliba is like a box chocolate. You’re never know what you’re gonna get.
It’s box of chocolates from Harrods not Poundland imo
yeah but you still don’t know if the flavours are to the premier leagues palette
Tbh mustafi is pretty strong never loses an aerial battle that easily
I must admit I find it really surprising that we may renew Mustafi’s contract. The man has been with us for about four years – through four different managers – and has put together only a few months of consistent play (mostly very recently). I truly love and believe in Arteta but I do not think anyone can turn a player from an accident waiting to happen into a world class defender within a few months…does no one expect a reversion to the mean? Do his four years of shoddy, and at times frankly calamitous play become moot because he’s… Read more »
Wenger did a good job out of first-year calamity Koscielny.
Yeah and if he played for Chelsea in there system he wud of been rated better than Terry, ivanovic and Co. If we protected our defence better I think he wud of been rated as World class.
To be fair to him, the whole defence and the protection in front of it has been shit for those 4 years
Why was Koscielny able to do well? He played in the exact same system with two of the same managers. Mertesacker? He played in the same system concurrently with Mustafi – he managed to do okay. It’s not like we haven’t given Mustafi time – he signed in 2016! Everyone loves a comeback story but I still have nightmares about the match he caused us to concede three goals against Crystal Palace (and the countless other matches that I’ve tried to black out). I thank Mustafi for his hard work and continuous effort, but let’s improve this team – not… Read more »
Our defence has never been okay
I will first admit that I was not the biggest fan of Mustafi when he first arrived at Arsenal. Having said that, there was never anything wrong with his abilities over the last few years except having to compensate for the fact that Arsenal has /had a defective defensive system. He was constantly having to cover for a lack of an effective holding mid field leading to him being exposed. Added to that, the last two years, he has been playing scared, paying too much attention to the criticism from the fans and media. My biggest surprise in all this… Read more »
I’m not sure he would do well in their back line. Mustafi much like David Luiz is a decent defender, they both need to be in the right system to thrive. City play a high risk and high reward system of defending much like Arsenal over the last couple of years. You have to be an excellent defender to do well in a system like that. I think Mustafi would be calamitous in their back line. The back 3 favours both Mustafi and Luiz but deprives Arsenal of an extra body either in midfield or upfront. To get to where… Read more »
Agree with this, if we want to play an expansive and aggressive game, we need defenders that are good defending one-on-one. Arteta has deliberately changed our system and approach to minimise our backline’s exposure to said one-on-ones. It’s getting the best out of Mustafi and Luiz for now but I don’t think Arteta will stick with it for long.
If Otamendi can cope in the City defence, definitely Mustafi can. Compare the midfield shield and pressing in front of the City defence to ours during Unai’s reign.
Otamendi (and Stones for that matter) can barely cope. That’s why City are 20 odd points behind and that’s why Pep doesn’t trust him ahead of Fernandinho, a 5ft9, 35 year old midfielder!
There was never a problem when Kosceilny was fit. The real problems started when Kos’s talents began to fade. The problem was not Mustafi, Kosceilny or Mertesaka. It was the club’s inability to find an adequate backup/replacement for the LCB. Some of the most embarrassing loses came when Kos was unavailable and Mert was moved over to LCB. I dont know if i can say that he is a top one on one defender, but he is a very good footballer. Very good in the air, and can aggressively protect his own zone. Anyhow, with Saliba coming in with a… Read more »
Monreal was solid enough at LCB whenever he played there. I think we let him go a season two early.
He may be a bit of a twat at times, but we should support him because he’s our twat and will be until he leaves because that’s how it works.
He’s done ok in a back three as has Luiz, but if Arteta eventually wants to revert to a back four then I’m not sure that either of them can cut it.
I was pretty much going to say the same thing. He looks good with the extra man and less space in behind, but if we want to transition to a team that is more proactive he might struggle again in the future.
arteta masterclass: Play a back 3 to make mustafi look good, then sell him to play a back 4
The team is setup to defend first. If we had a more attacking bias, which with a good couple ofo transfer windows could change, he could find himself in a similar position to before.
His recent efforts deserve recognition, but not enough to extend beyond his 30’s
Mustafi is by far the most improved player under Emery. As a defender it naturally goes all the more unnoticed. He is underrated (this season!) and is familiar with PL intensity. Holding next to him is a solid pairing as their polarising attributes complement each other well, needs to be tried more. I could see them as part of a back 4 with Tierney and Bellerin so that we can throw the extra man into our midfield which at times is still getting bypassed quite easily. I find Musti more intelligent than Luiz, who is clearly is not the answer… Read more »
With the combo of investment in Saliba and Mari, plus injuries to Mari and Chambers, plus financial constraints…you kind of have to renew him IMO. He does leave it all out there. He has quality.
I’m in the camp of “no CB in this team will look good for 95 minutes with no decent CDM.” Invest there instead.
Wonder if anyone is missing Gabriel Paulista atm.
Please Arsenal board look for the curse of wounds before treatment, a team without a creative midfielder,
They should first sell Ozil and look for genuine number TEN 10, because Arsenal is missing on it.
For a team to explore they need good C-D commander 5 and 10.
If not the hole team can be exposed, other teams are now rebuilding while Arsenal just talking and complaining about Mustafa,
They need to invest in good players now like others too.
“Arteta even kept faith with the centre-back after a terrible mistake at Stamford Bridge that cost us a goal and a man.”
to be fair i don’t think Musti is responsible for David Luiz’s send off at the bridge, but he is responsible for the goal from the penalty. David Luiz shouldn’t have been rash, even when you’re beaten if you’re last man back you don’t pull that shit, you make a real challenge for the ball not whatever that was.
First thing you have to consider before considering whether to extend Mustafi’s deal is whether he is the best CB we have.If not,sell him ASAP.If he is the best we have at the moment, extend his deal.We are under severe economic constraints and will be able to buy only one top class defender which means that if we sell Mustafi,we will be heavily reliant on Luiz,Mari and Holding for the other position, which i think is not very ideal.Luiz is in his last year’s and Saliba needs to gain experience.It’s better to sell Sokratis and Holding and retain Mavraponas also…
Based on his current form it could be argued he is the best, that is the dilemma!
Oh come on. People seem to forget his history of recurring errors. It’s not the first time he’s had a purple patch where his calamity is reduced and people start to believe he’s improved, will come good and other bullshit. Mustafi is a error prone player and if you look at the games you can see that he’s just moments away from a meltdown. He might be a really good bloke in private but he loves blaming others for his mistakes and I would hate playing with someone like that. Take the money we can get and he might have… Read more »
Can’t get my head around the Rob situation…………recently, when asked to do a job, he is so assured back there.
And yet he’s behind Sead in the back three pecking order right now, ( and Luiz , and Shodran).
Coming back from an ACL is horrendously difficult, I know, but is he not there yet?
Mustafi is a great player. I love him so much. Arteta should not make the mistake to let Mustafi go. He is the only defender Arsenal are having now. And he is doing well. God bless Arteta. God bless Arsenal Fc
Credit where its due. Hes been fantastic recently. Players can turn it around and long may it continue. Xhaka is the prime example. Eboue the next. Coquelin one of the prime examples who was about 3 months away from being released until he turned it around.
Do deal, he’s still Mustafi.
The FIFA glitch against Palace was not an issue of the system, it was an issue of the brain.
He’s gone to the ground in the penalty box for no good reason more times than I can count.
Yes, he’s been fine recently – but let’s not forget he was quite bad against Brighton.
We shouldn’t be desperate enough to entertain this.
The memory of our fans is like that of a fish. Mustafi is a bit ok when it’s wolves, Sheffield or Norwich, against the top sides he gets exposed. Against Brighton he was abysmal, Muapay exposed him in the end. Even the Vardy equaliser he was not tight enough to Vardy. Like someone said earlier, if we truly want to be a powerhouse again players the ilk of mustafi, Bellerin, Elneny should not be part of the rebuilding process.
This is an interesting situation. We all know how error prone he has been and even a year ago I would have supported ditching him at the first opportunity. But he has been a different player under Arteta and, although still there, the gaffs have been fewer and further between. Now I think I’d support an extension – with the hope that we might also get some money for him in a year or so. Sokratis and Dinos clearly don’t factor in Arteta’s plans.
We cannot keep that many average defenders. Mustafi is top dog and Kolasinac has finally found a suitable position, but I am always waiting for the mistake. Can’t wait for Saliba.
Of the 8 Cbacks right now, Mavropanos I don’t think will continue. Sokratis looks like he may head out as well with good offer. Probably we will have to make assessment if it is good for both player and club to keep Chambers. Holding isn’t as great as he is hyped up to be (missed his header only recently before Kola had to scramblebut cleared it into Mustafi for an own goal)… but has potential to get better particularly in a back 3. Luiz we are keeping prob bc Mari is injured (and jury still out frankly on the Spaniard)… Read more »
Despite his history of error prone performances under Emery, Mustafi now starting and playing well for Arsenal is only good thing. Either his stock goes up and we sell in the summer for an increased price, or we keep him as a more reliable back up for next season
Well, he is our most consistent cb right now,thats for sure, thats why Arteta keeps picking him, simple. But look at the evidence now…he has since shown he is a ‘ball playing’ cb, good and confident with the ball to his feet, can also ping it long when needed, he is good in the air, strong in 1 v 1s, and most importantly, he has been doing it consistently. Never in my wildest dreams did i ever thought i would be writing this about Mustaffi.. and Xhaka btw, while we are here, but i will definitely keep him. When a… Read more »
Credit where it’s due. He’s been good since the restart. I wouldn’t be giving him a new contract though. We need to see an improvement for a whole season and then we can talk about that. For the meantime he has shown he can be decent and becomes a more sellable asset.
In the time that he’s been at Arsenal, Mustafi’s mistakes have cost this club untold Premiership points and Cup progress. The sooner the club are rid of him the better. Simple as that.