When Shkodran Mustafi arrived from Valencia in 2016 for the not too shabby sum of £35 million, he looked every inch the defender Arsenal had craved.
He looked strong, capable and defensively aware. Able to put in a hefty challenge to snuff out attacks and shore up a twitchy defence and everything looked extremely promising for the bulk of the season, so what changed?
It’s been rumoured that Arsenal were on the verge of farming him out to Inter Milan, which has left most supporters scratching their heads.
It’s been mooted that he never truly settled and there were rumours that he was unable to establish a meaningful partnership with fellow defender Laurent Koscielny. Koscielny is undoubtedly Wenger’s star defender and someone who is an out and out Wenger man.
The fact that he and Mustafi didn’t hit it off personally or professionally would prove to be a headache for the Arsenal boss and was potentially a good enough reason to steer the German in the direction of the exit door.
That would be a pity because the German could still be an asset to the Gunners and provide some steel in a leaky, squeaky back line that has often resembled a patient awaiting treatment at the dentist.
Some combinations are just incompatible and it would appear that the pairing was not felt, by some, to be one which would stop the goals flying in on a regular basis.
Read between the lines however and there have been mixed messages coming from Wenger and the club. It appears the board may have looked at Mustafi as a cash injection to fund transfers, whereas Wenger still wanted to keep him.
This would make Wenger’s confused ramblings on the topic at recent press conferences a little clearer and would further suggest that there is more going on behind closed doors.
Perhaps it’s the ongoing conflict between Gazidis and Wenger and the fact that they can’t agree on most things from the thickness of the bread in the canteen to the merits of a proven an international player.
The board, who were vociferous in their support of the manager by offering a Two-year contract extension offer, now seem to want to get involved in areas that don’t really concern them but Wenger is too much of a gentleman to go public on that score.
It appears whatever Wenger has stated on team matters has been viewed completely differently in the sanctum of the stuffy boardroom without the guidance and leadership of their absent owner Stan ‘Plonka’
Wenger has said that Oxlade Chamberlain and Sanchez were staying put, but with the recent turn of events, we can now assume that they have overruled the boss in an attempt to cash in.
Wenger’s frustration must be at an all time high and it’s not the first time his employers have embarrassed him publicly and sold off major assets.
Mustafi has, apparently, still got a career with Arsenal but for how long is anyone’s guess.