Arsenal Transfer News: Mikel Arteta hints at keeping Shkodran Mustafi at the Emirates amid Galatasaray links
Galatasaray has been touted as a possible destination for Mustafi
The Germany international's departure from the north London outfit was believed to be inevitable after he lost the confidence of the Gunners faithful with a string of dismal performances. The centre-back was heavily tipped for a move to Galatasaray in the January transfer window, with some reports even claiming that his agent had travelled to Turkey to finalise the transfer.
Arteta has recently been dealt with a bit of a crisis after his options at the back were decimated owing to a series of injuries to key defenders.
Calum Chambers has been ruled out of action for the remainder of the season due to a long-term knee injury while Kieran Tierney is sidelined for another two months for a dislocated shoulder. Meanwhile, Sead Kolasinac picked up a thigh strain during a training session and Hector Bellerin is still struggling to recover from his hamstring injury.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is originally a central midfielder, has been forced to deputise at right-back while the unproven partnership of David Luiz and Sokratis has been constantly used in the centre-back slots.
In light of the absences, Arteta has now suggested that he might keep Mustafi at the club and will ensure regular playing time if he proves he is worthy of a spot in the team. He said via Sky Sports,
"Can we afford [to lose a centre-back]? "If it happens, we will have to invent something. We are already playing with full-backs that are not full-backs. They are wingers or central midfielders and could we afford to lose full-backs? No, but we don't have any full-backs."
"I know his history at this football club, but it is up to him. I told everybody from day one: 'It is up to you guys. You show me how much you want it, you show me you are committed here, you are going to have a chance and it is going to come this week, next week or the following one'. They are all going to have the chance to play. After it is up to them to show it."
The former Manchester City assistant manager had previously revealed that the Gunners may be forced to dip into the transfer market for defensive reinforcements as they are running out of options at the back. It remains to be seen who the Spaniard will bring to north London before the ongoing transfer window slams shut.