Arsenal has reportedly held transfer talks with Valencia and Germany international Shkodran Mustafi, according to The Daily Star. That is according to Italian football journalist Emanuele Giulianelli, who has made a number of transfer claims about the Gunners in recent weeks.
Giulianelli shared the following tweet.
Last week contacts between Arsenal and the agent of Shkodran Mustafi, German defender. #AFC
— Emanuele Giulianelli (@EmaGiulianelli) July 25, 2016
Sky Germany are now reporting that the Gunners have already opened talks with Valencia over the defender. The 24-year-old has a release clause of £42.1m but it is understood that Arsenal may be able to sign the German for £25.3m plus a further £8.4m in add-ons.
The Gunners are believed to be in the market in search of a new centre-back with both Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny set to miss the start of the season, and Arsenal have now held initial talks with the agent of Mustafi over the possibility of a summer move.
German centre-back Per Mertesacker is reportedly facing up to five months out with a knee injury. Laurent Koscielny is also set to miss the start of the season following his Euro 2016 exploits with France while a tonsillitis infection has ruled Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista out of their pre-season tour of the United States of America, where they are to play the MLS All-Stars in a friendly on the 28th of this month in San Jose, California.
Calum Chambers and new signing Rob Holding are now the only available central defenders in the Arsenal squad, and Wenger will have no choice but to dip into the market to bring someone else on board.
Mustafi started his football career with German club Hamburger SV as a youth prodigy and then went on to spend three years at Everton with the Under-21 and senior teams (where he made just one appearance), before a successful spell at Italian club Sampdoria which earned him a move to Valencia.
The 12 times capped Germany international, who scored at Euro 2016, is under contract at the Mestalla until 2019.
Mustafi had himself a great year at Valencia. At just 24 years of age, he proved to be one of the best defenders in the world, averaging 4.4 interceptions and 2.7 tackles per appearance last season. Not only that, Mustafi is also an aerial menace, similar to what Per Mertesacker once was.
He has consistently won almost three aerial duels a game and as we saw at the Euros, this aerial ability has translated into shots from set-pieces, Shots leading to goals. This could give Arsenal another option on the offensive ; one that can help them deliver goals from places where they rarely ever find them – set-pieces.
Mustafi has also emerged on the transfer radar of Chelsea recently, and so Arsenal must sneak in and make things interesting. We do not know how long Mertesacker is out for, but even with him back in shape, Arsenal are certainly in need of a new defender.
Mertesacker’s injury should merely push the issue. Rob Holding is a fantastic future option but Mustafi is clearly a more experienced and proven player, a present day contender for that second central defensive role.
Let us hope that we get the reported €25m Mustafi deal done sooner than later so that our bid to attain Premier League glory this season ends in a fruitful manner.