Over the summer, we had the chance to speak very briefly with Shkodran Mustafi when he was in England with Valencia.
We asked the defender if he was going to be moving to Arsenal and he replied that it was ‘difficult’
Speaking at the Arsenal AGM on Monday morning, Arsene Wenger confirmed that this was indeed the case when we were trying to sign the German. Agreement was found early on with the player and his agent – but his club were the ones who dragged things out.
Wenger reveals deal with Mustafi's agent was agreed during US preseason trip, but dragged out because of Valencia.
— Mattias Karén (@MattiasKaren) October 24, 2016
Arsenal played in the States at the end of July/start of August so when we spoke to Mustafi on 2 August, an agreement was already in place to sign the player.
It would not become official until the Arsenal announcement on 30 August, four weeks after a deal with the player had been reached.
Still, we got there in the end, eh?
Wenger quotes in full from the AGM in regards to Mustafi
“Why did I not buy a centre-half before the start of the season? Mertesacker was injured very early.
“I don’t agree that Mertesacker is not good enough and Gabriel was injured before the season and is experienced and (Rob) Holding has also done well.
“We started negotiating [for Mustafi], we met with Ivan Gazidis in the States with the agent of Mustafi and agreed the deal but it took long to get over the line as Valencia were reluctant to sell.
“We also took longer because in pre-season he was injured and he couldn’t have played against Liverpool (on the opening day).
“When he came he had had just 45 minutes of competition. We needed him to push too and that is sometimes a slow process as it is not only us that can decide whether he signs.
“With centre-backs, if you look at the investments made all over the country it is a difficult subject as a lot of clubs invested a a lot of money and it is difficult to find the quality to strengthen your squad.”