According to Football.London, Arsenal center-back Shkodran Mustafi is set to leave the club on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season. The German was reportedly offered a new contract in the summer but has decided to reject it and move on.
Mustafi joined Arsenal from Valencia in the summer of 2016 for £35 million. There was a lot of hype and expectations surrounding Mustafi, as he was one of the best center-backs in La Liga when he joined Arsenal and was a World Cup winner with Germany in 2014.
Mustafi has, however, failed to make an impact at Arsenal since his switch from Valencia and has been error-prone for long stretches. He has often been singled out as a villain at the club. Mustafi has started under Mikel Arteta in recent times but feels that it is time to move on to seek more regular football and a new challenge.
Shkodran Mustafi rejects new deal from Arsenal after falling down the pecking order
Arsenal have recruited heavily in defence in recent years, but have failed to move on any of their fringe players, or players who do not have a future at the club in the eyes of Mikel Arteta. Arsenal signed Gabriel Magalhaes and Pablo Mari this summer, and welcomed back William Saliba from his loan spell at Saint-Etienne.
Mikel Arteta has preferred to play Magalhaes with either Rob Holding or David Luiz this season, which was one of the main reasons why Mustafi decided against signing a new deal with Arsenal.
The Gunners will be hoping to sell Mustafi in the January transfer window, rather than letting him leave on a free transfer, given that they spent £35 million to sign him four years ago. Arsenal have been looking to maximize profits from sales this summer to reinvest that money in new signings.
Mikel Arteta will be hoping that youngster William Saliba will be able to fill the shoes of Mustafi. Arsenal signed Saliba from Saint-Etienne last summer, but sent the Frenchman back on loan to the Ligue 1 side, so that he gains valuable playing time and experience.
Saliba will add strength and speed to an Arsenal backline that has improved, but still does not inspire confidence. Arsenal have had an up and down start to their 2020-21 campaign, and will be looking to bounce back from a 1-0 home defeat to Leicester City on Sunday.Published 27 Oct 2020, 13:24 IST