Shkodran Mustafi won WhoScored’s Bundesliga Player of the Week award for his performance at the weekend, keeping a clean sheet.

Schalke's German defender Shkodran Mustafi (L) and Union Berlin's German defender Niko Giesselmann vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match between 1 FC Union Berlin and FC Schalke 04 in Berlin on February 13, 2021. (Photo by ANNEGRET HILSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Schalke’s German defender Shkodran Mustafi (L) and Union Berlin’s German defender Niko Giesselmann vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match between 1 FC Union Berlin and FC Schalke 04 in Berlin on February 13, 2021. (Photo by ANNEGRET HILSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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WhoScored announced on Tuesday morning that Shkodran Mustafi was their Bundesliga Player of the Week. They highlighted his clean sheet, 10 of 12 aerial duels won, eight clearances, and three interceptions from his individual performance on Saturday.

Schalke drew the match 0-0 with Union Berlin, so it wasn’t a perfect day for the former Arsenal man. But it was their first clean sheet in six games, so at least it’s something to build on.

Sead Kolasinac also featured in the match, trying to help a Schalke side desperate for results. As we’ve covered previously, they’re nine points (and a goal difference swing) away from safety at the moment and have only picked up nine points in 21 games so far.

Schalke and Mustafi aren’t going to have things any easier this week, as they host Borussia Dortmund on Saturday at 17:30 GMT.

At least things seem to be going alright for the German international so far. It wasn’t working out at all in North London, but perhaps he’ll have a fresh start back in his home country.

Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac kept a clean sheet together for FC Schalke last Saturday but draws may not be enough for them right now.

Schalke's German defender Shkodran Mustafi reacts during the German first division Bundesliga football match between 1 FC Union Berlin and FC Schalke 04 in Berlin on February 13, 2021. (Photo by ANNEGRET HILSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Schalke’s German defender Shkodran Mustafi reacts during the German first division Bundesliga football match between 1 FC Union Berlin and FC Schalke 04 in Berlin on February 13, 2021. (Photo by ANNEGRET HILSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In January, Arsenal sent two of their defenders away to Germany to join FC Schalke. Sead Kolasinac joined the club on loan, whilst Shkodran Mustafi moved on a permanent deal – six months before the expiry of his contract in North London.

The pair didn’t have the best first game together last week, losing 3-0 to RB Leipzig. However, they turned things around with a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw against Union Berlin this weekend.

It was the team’s first clean sheet in six games, with Mustafi putting in a particularly strong performance. He won 13 of his 16 individual duels and made eight clearances in a busy evening.

Yet, Schalke fans will still end the game feeling disappointed. Their team dominated the possession and yet they were outshot four-to-one.

It’s all well and good keeping clean sheets, but they really need wins. They’re nine points off safety as things stand, having only picked up nine points in the first 21 games of the 34-game season.

Schalke director Jochen Schneider has admitted the club want to sign Kolasinac permanently, but it’s not going to happen if they can’t stay up. So they need to start scoring if Mustafi and Kolasinac’s defensive contributions are going to mean anything.

Shkodran Mustafi cost Arsenal how much?

by Lee Hurley

The aftermath of the Jamie Vardy kick on Shkodran Mustafi (Photo via Mustafi on Instagram)
The aftermath of the Jamie Vardy kick on Shkodran Mustafi (Photo via Mustafi on Instagram)

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.

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.

Schalke Sporting Director admits they ‘dream’ of signing Arsenal exile

FC Schalke sporting director Jochen Schneider admits that the club’s hope and dream is to sign Sead Kolasinac on a permanent deal.

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY: Sead Kolasinac of FC Schalke 04 goes off injured during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and 1. FC Koeln at Veltins-Arena on January 20, 2021. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel - Pool/Getty Images)
GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY: Sead Kolasinac of FC Schalke 04 goes off during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and 1. FC Koeln at Veltins-Arena on January 20, 2021. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel – Pool/Getty Images)

Sead Kolasinac moved on loan to FC Schalke in the January transfer window, and despite their continuing struggles since then, sporting director Jochen Schneider says they’d love to keep the 27-year-old for longer.

“That is our absolute dream,” Schneider said. “He’s an incredibly good guy, lives the club, pushes and pulls the cart. Sead embodies Schalke like no other. Of course, it is our wish to keep him until the end of his career and beyond.”

It’s clear that Schalke would need to avoid relegation if they are to complete a permanent transfer for Kolasinac in the summer. They can’t afford his wages and a potential transfer fee to Arsenal if they’re planning for second-tier football next season.

As things stand, Schalke are bottom of the table with just eight points from 20 games. They’re nine points off safety with 14 fixtures left to play.

Clearly, they’d need a major improvement from now on to have any chance of escaping relegation. Even if Arminia Bielefeld, Mainz, and Hertha BSC all stopped playing matches today, Schalke’s form so far would still send them down after 34 games.

Schalke boss “not 100 percent satisfied” after Shkodran Mustafi’s debut

Shkodran Mustafi was thrown straight into Schalke’s starting lineup despite not training with his new team and the Germans think his rusty performance is down to not playing since December.

Leipzig's Norwegian forward Alexander Sorloth and Schalke's German defender Shkodran Mustafi (R) vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match between FC Schalke 04 and RB Leipzig in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany, on February 6, 2021. (Photo by Leon KUEGELER / POOL / AFP)
Leipzig’s Norwegian forward Alexander Sorloth and Schalke’s German defender Shkodran Mustafi (R) vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match between FC Schalke 04 and RB Leipzig in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany, on February 6, 2021. (Photo by Leon KUEGELER / POOL / AFP)

Once 2021 arrived, Shkodran Mustafi disappeared from Arsenal’s matchday squad as the club looked to push him out the door.

Eventually an arrangement was found that allowed Arsenal to shift Mustafi’s wages off the books and the German to find a club willing to take them on.

Off to Schalke he went to lineup alongside Sead Kolasinac who, although still technically an Arsenal player, will no doubt leave permanently in the summer.

Arsenal fans will not be surprised to hear that Mustafi’s Schalke debut didn’t go too smoothly.

For a start, Schalke lost 3-0 at home to RB Leipzig as Mustafi picked up a 5.8 rating in his debut and Sead Kolasinac got a 5.3.

Mustafi’s pass success rate was 65% although he made seven recoveries and two interceptions. Only three other players in Schalke’s starting lineup got a lower rating.

“I’m not 100 percent satisfied with his performance, but with his commitment,” said Schalke head coach, Christian Gross [Yes, the same one that managed Spurs for nine months].

“He tried everything. He stabilised the defence and gave many instructions. For the future, he is definitely the right transfer, I am convinced of that. He is a great personality and will help us tremendously in our situation.

“He didn’t train with us at all, there was little time to prepare for this game,” Gross added when asked why he started Mustafi after no training sessions instead of the 19-year-old Malick Thiaw.

“Experience was the decisive factor in the end. Malick played well against Wolfsburg. The future belongs to him too, but he has to be patient.

“He will certainly get his chance again in the next games.”

Thanfully, unlike with Kolasinac, Arsenal no longer own Mustafi in any form so he’s Schalke’s problem now.

At least until the summer when his short deal expires.