We may not know if Shkodran Mustafi will start his first game on Saturday against Southampton when they arrive at the Emirates, but we know one thing for sure – he’s ready for it.
Arsene Wenger gave nothing away at his press conference when he spoke to reporters on Friday morning, but the smart money would be on the German taking young Rob Holding’s place, something the former Bolton man can feel rightly disappointed by.
Taking to his official Twitter account, Arsenal’s newest defender had this to say:
— Shkodran Mustafi (@MustafiOfficial) September 9, 2016
While Wenger would not confirm if the new pair would start this weekend, he was full of praise for them both as well as the rest of the team.
“They have settled very quickly and very well, so the real test is the games,” the boss said.
“We will see and know very soon, but what they do in training is promising. A least they have the quality and focus in training that we expected and on that front I’m very happy.
“We did [the deals] quite early compared to some other clubs because we finished our job on Saturday and the transfer deadline was on Wednesday. It was earlier than expected, because it was a quick turnaround on Saturday morning which we didn’t expect to go so quickly.
“They bring us qualities. Mustafi is a young centre back and already has international experience. Lucas is an interesting striker who is versatile, can play on the flank and especially though the middle. He can score goals and can also provide a good number of assists. With the way I like to play, that’s an interesting quality.
“I would say it’s the most mature squad I’ve had for a long time, because they are men,” Wenger added.
“They are not 19 or 20 years old, they are 24, 27, 28 and the whole squad is quite mature.
“It’s the first time for a long time that I’ve had a team of what you can call men ready to compete. After, we have to show that we are good enough to beat everybody else.
“I always believe we have a chance, even when we had young players. Certainly I haven’t had a squad of players [like this] for a long time, who have enough experience to compete.”