Arsenal are ready to place Shkodran Mustafi on the transfer list this summer, according to reports, and that wouldn’t be a particularly surprising turn of events.
Sam Dean of The Telegraph wrote in his Arsenal briefing that the club are willing to listen to offers for the defender in the summer. They reportedly know that they’ll have to take a big hit on the £35m they spent to bring the German to North London, but are ready to move him on nonetheless.
Unfortunately for the 26-year-old, the transfer would make a lot of sense. For a start, it’s clear that Arsenal are oversaturated in the quantity department at centre-back, but lacking in quality.
The club have Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Krystian Bielik, Julio Pleguezuelo, a number of youth prospects and players who have filled in from other positions. However, the entire list have struggled with injury, inexperience, ageing or simply not making the grade.
Secondly, Mustafi’s contract will only have two years left on it this summer. The impression the club are giving is that they don’t want to allow players to run into their final year anymore, so this is likely the window the World Cup winner either extends his contract or leaves.
Finally, Mustafi just isn’t having a great season. He’s had some good performances, such as recent positive showing against Cardiff, but then the recent games against Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool come along and Arsenal concede nine goals in 193 minutes with him on the pitch (a goal every 21 minutes).
The only clean sheet Arsenal have kept against big-six opposition this season came in the only match Mustafi missed.
The centre-back will really have to up his game between now and May if he’s going to convince the club to hang onto him this summer. For now, I can’t see it.