Arsenal legend Perry Groves has warned Liverpool not to buy Shkodran Mustafi from Arsenal but he could be about to go to Schalke with their defender heading to Merseyside.
Liverpool emerged as an unlikely destination for Shkodran Mustafi who has not been included in an Arsenal matchday squad in 2021 even though he’s fit. His last appearance on the bench came in Arsenal’s last game of 2020 against Brighton. In total, Arteta has given him just 43 league minutes this season and nobody even seems to have noticed.
Out of contract in the summer, Arsenal are trying to get rid of him and Liverpool, it seems, have run out of their main options to fix their centreback problems.
With Mustafi, however, they would be getting a whole new set.
“I wouldn’t be taking Mustafi, because I’ve seen him play for Arsenal!” Groves told talkSPORT.
“He’s always got a mistake in him. He loses concentration.
“Even in the ginger brotherhood, I can’t back him!
“If you’re bringing someone in, they’ve got to be as good or better than what you’ve got – and I don’t think Mustafi is.”
Liverpool might get a reprieve, however, with Schalke showing some late interest in the German in order to replace a player Liverpool probably want more than Mustafi:
According to Sky Germany, Schalke have actually asked Arsenal about Mustafi. They want a signing before letting Kabak join Liverpool. https://t.co/9QJ5XttMMI
— Lewis (@LGAmbrose) February 1, 2021
Another source saying Schalke want Mustafi. The option for Liverpool to buy Kabak would be €23m https://t.co/WWlsHBvUXe
— Lewis (@LGAmbrose) February 1, 2021
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.
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.
Whatever happens, Mustafi will be gone from Arsenal by 1 July 2021 and he will have cost Arsenal £23.4m in wages on top of his transfer fee. He currently earns £90kpw.
Liverpool hold a genuine interest in Shkodran Mustafi ahead of the January transfer deadline, according to reports.
Simon Collings of the Evening Standard reports that interest from Liverpool in Shkodran Mustafi is genuine. He’s just ‘one option under consideration’ at this stage, and the club are yet to make contact with Arsenal over a transfer.
Mustafi is open to a move away from Arsenal if he gets the right offer. Lazio in Italy are another club with an interest in him, but they’re also yet to formalise that interest with a bid.
For those who don’t follow Liverpool very closely, they’re in the middle of a defensive crisis. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez were already out for the long term before Joel Matip and Fabinho picked up injuries this week.
Jurgen Klopp’s current options at the back are the likes of Jordan Henderson and youth players. As a result, they’re looking at short-term deals to plug the gap.
You’d think that would suit Mustafi perfectly. Right now, he’s facing the possibility that he won’t be picked for Arsenal’s squad for the rest of the season, as they’ve run out of non-homegrown spots again.
After that, his contract is up anyway. Perhaps six months with Liverpool would actually give him a better chance to get on the pitch before he becomes a free agent.