Lee Dixon claims Gary Neville told him he couldn’t even give Shkodran Mustafi away when he was manager of Valencia, before Arsenal spent £30m on the defender.
Dixon was speaking at Monday night’s Arsenal Supporters’ Trust AGM, and was very critical of a number of aspects of the club. One of those was player recruitment, and, particularly, the signing of Mustafi.
“Don’t get me started on him”, Dixon said.
“Wenger recruited some great players: Kolo Toure, Sol, Thierry Henry.
“But Mustafi? I spoke to Gary Neville who said Valencia couldn’t give him away.
“Then Arsenal came along and paid £30m for him.” [edit: It was actually £36.9m]
It’s hard to defend Mustafi much at the moment.
The centre-back has played in four defeats in his last five matches, and only helped Arsenal to a clean sheet against Östersunds FK.
Even then, he was lucky David Ospina saved a late penalty.
In Arsenal’s biggest game of the season so far, the League Cup final, Mustafi put in one of his worst performances yet.
Even if you think Aguero fouled him for the first goal (most people don’t), he was still out of position.
The defender consistently pushes up on attackers to try and win the ball back quickly. As a result, his numbers for interceptions are always high, but it’s a risky defensive tactic. It works okay if opposition forwards aren’t expecting it, but when you play the likes of City, they just abuse the space you leave behind.
Then you look at the performance against Brighton and Mustafi’s mistakes are even more basic.
He simply fails to mark Glenn Murray, choosing instead to watch the ball float over his head.
The German needs to do a lot more to prove his worth in the coming matches and reportedly also needs to stop blaming everyone else for mistakes instead of looking at his own performance.