Reports: Inter Milan make shock £41m bid for 25-year-old Arsenal star
The Gunners may be tempted into selling a crucial player
What's the story?
Arsenal centre-back Shkodran Mustafi has caught the eye of Serie A giants Inter Milan, according to reports in multiple British news outlets. The German centre-back is a favourite of Nerazzurri boss Luciano Spaletti, who has identified Mustafi as one of his prime targets. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is said to be reluctant to let the player leave, although making a profit on a player who proved to be quite error-prone last season may be possible. Inter are reportedly willing to pay £41 million for the German, according to reports on Italian television but may be forced to up their bid to tempt the Gunners into selling.
In case you didn't know...
Mustafi has had a well-travelled career despite being only 25 - the youngster moved from Hamburg to Everton's academy as a youngster, before moving to Sampdoria on a free transfer. The German came into the limelight at Valencia, who bought him for an €8 million fee, spending two seasons there before joining Arsenal last summer in a deal that made him their most expensive defender of all time.
The heart of the matter
Mustafi's performances last season have been fairly inconsistent for the Gunners, with the German putting in some commanding displays alongside a few error-strewn performances. He made 37 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal, scoring and assisting twice, although he racked up 12 yellow cards over the course of the season.
Inter Milan are hoping to capitalize on Arsenal's doubts about Mustafi, although Arsene Wenger has reportedly told the board to not sell the German. With Gabriel all set to leave the Gunners for Valencia, it would leave Arsenal with relatively few bodies in central defence, not to mention that Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are both over 30.
The Nerazzurri have also proposed a loan deal for Mustafi that was swiftly rejected, and their only hope of a move remains if they can convince the German to push for a move.
Mustafi is still 25-years-old, and along with Rob Holding is the future of Arsenal's defence. The Gunners would be foolish to let go of a player so soon after heavily investing in him last summer, and Mustafi does have room to grow.