Shkodran Mustafi is still without a club but it seems as if one or two are getting ready to take a chance on the defender.
Shokdran Mustafi had his Arsenal contract cancelled at the start of the year allowing him to sign a short-term deal with Schalke where he helped lead a revolt against their manager, got dropped from the team for being awful, won only two games, got relegated and was then voted Relegated Player of the Season – in other words, the worst player, despite only arriving in the middle of the season.
So, it’s perhaps not surprising that there has been little talk in the media of clubs rushing to bust down his door and sign him on a free transfer.
Mustafi, a free agent with a value of around £2.25m, has never seen his stock rise above £27m, despite Arsenal paying a criminal £36.9m (when he was only worth £18m).
Schalke won one game from the 11 in the Bundesliga that Mustafi started and, in total, the Germans won just two league matches after signing the former World Cup winner following his release from Arsenal.
And to think, at the tail end of 2020 Arsenal reportedly offered Mustafi a new deal and he turned it down.
What Shkodran Mustafi has cost Arsenal in total
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.
Mustafi’s last appearance on the bench came in Arsenal’s last game of 2020 against Brighton. In total, Arteta gave him just 43 league minutes last season and nobody even seemed to have noticed.
When you add in his wages at £90kpw for a total of £23.4m, signing Shkodran Mustafi cost Arsenal £60.3m and quite a lot of their dignity.