Arsenal and Shkodran Mustafi have finally parted ways after the defender terminated his contract to join Schalke on transfer deadline day.

Arsenal's German defender Shkodran Mustafi runs with the ball during the UEFA Europa League 1st Round Group B football match between Arsenal and Rapid Vienna at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 3, 2020. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s German defender Shkodran Mustafi runs with the ball during the UEFA Europa League 1st Round Group B football match between Arsenal and Rapid Vienna at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 3, 2020. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Shkodran Mustafi only had six months left on his Arsenal contract and after being dropped from the Arsenal matchday squad altogether in 2021 it was clear the club were trying to get him and his massive wages to move on somewhere else.

He has now joined Schalke and is believed his contract was terminated:

https://twitter.com/Arsenal/status/1356361850179514374

https://twitter.com/s04_en/status/1356361948611436547

A lot has been said about how much money Arsenal paid for Nicolas Pepe. It’s widely accepted that they overpaid by a vast sum and that it was a seriously dodgy transfer. Throw into the mix his £105kpw wages and it is clear the winger will never add that much value to Arsenal unless a miracle happens and he gains control of his own legs.

The blame for that deal has rightly been heaped onto Raul Sanllehi and if rumours are to be believed it was a big factor in why he’s no longer at the club. But long before Sanllehi rocked up with his Barcelona bollocks, Arsenal were already getting used to spunking hard cash on rubbish players despite how long it took them to save up.

There’s no denying Arsenal’s spending since the austerity shackles were binned has been akin to saving up for 10 years to buy a house and then spending it all on an orgy with people you don’t even fancy.

Shkodran Mustafi’s initial transfer cost £36.9m. That was just his fee. There was no doubt a cut to his agent and a signing-on fee as well. The same year, Liverpool bought Sadio Mane for £36.84m, not that they are comparable in either position or ability. Still, you can see the issue here.

Mustafi’s move to Arsenal was one of the most expensive in world football that year.

The fee is made even worse when you remember that Gary Neville, who had an ill-fated spell in charge of Valencia when Mustafi was there, allegedly told Lee Dixon that the Spanish side ‘couldn’t give him away’.

“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.”

Except it wasn’t, it was much more than that. The difference between £30m and £36.9m is Gabriel Martinelli and some change, although Arsenal probably thought they got a bargain given Mustafi’s release clause was an eye-watering £42.1m.

Neville, for the record, picked Mustafi for 22 of his 28 games in charge at Valencia, including the game they lost 7-0 to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final. The German was sent off in that match, just before half-time, giving away a penalty in the process (that Neymar missed) when it was 3-0 to Barca. That means Valencia only conceded one more in the second half than they had in the first, despite playing with 10 men because they were without Mustafi.

Arsenal signed him six months later although it’s worth noting that he didn’t sign until 30 August, suggesting the club had other targets and the fee they ended up paying was one borne of desperation not sense.

A few months after the World Cup winner arrived at Arsenal, Football.London reported that Arsene Wenger had not wanted to sign him, deeming him not good enough. Ivan Gazidis stepped in and signed him anyway. If that’s true, Wenger made no mention of it as Mustafi gets not one single note in the Frenchman’s biography. To be fair, that’s not saying much, the book is sadly a whole lot of not very much.

When he arrived, Mustafi told the press, “Playing for Valencia and Sampdoria every 12 months I had a new coach and that’s difficult because every time, new coach, different idea, different kind of football.

“Coming here with a coach who’s been here 20 years I knew I could come here, fit in and be part of it which makes everything much easier to play. I hope he’s not leaving but he has to make that decision and we will see.”

Wenger left the following year. One year with Mustafi in the team and it all came to an end.

Another center-back Arsenal signed that summer cost £2.7m.

His name was Rob Holding.