Everything You Need To Know About Manchester United’s New Defensive Target: Mustafi Scout Report

Shkodran Mustafi Scout Report

They say, some players in a certain side are irreplaceable, or rather indispensable to the role that they perform. And the abilities that they have are unmatched by any other player in their side. But, the earth is round and large, there’s nothing in this world that can’t be replaced, in terms of players and the roles that they perform. Although, players of the highest quality can never be replaced in a single shot, but players aren’t quite upto that level can certainly be replaced. And Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi is someone who is coming very close to filling the boots of the departed Nicolas Otamendi.

Mustafi, although has an Albanian descent but has represented the German National Team 8 times already. He’s currently 23 and has become a vital cog in the wheel of the Valencia backline, especially after the departure of Gabriel Paulista to Arsenal, alongside Nicolas Otamendi himself. He weighs 82 kilograms is an 184 centimetres tall. His physique is more than just imposing and the 23-year-old is a good pick for tackling.

Mustafi is a product of the Hamburg youth setup but joined Everton back in 2009. After failing to make a single Premier League appearance for the Goodison Park based club, Mustafi moved to Sampdoria, where he made 50 appearances before sealing a move to the Mestalla last year. The fee was rumored to fall in the region of 8 million, but the official figures remained undisclosed.

Mustafi was a part of the German Under 17 side which clinched the Under 17 EURO’s back in 2009, and although, he couldn’t make it to the German side for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, he came in as a replacement for the injured Marco Reus. Since then, Mustafi has emerged as a less than regular part of Joachim Loew’s side and has made 8 appearances too.

Mustafi is considered to be one of the most cultured centre-halves in the La Liga, a bit like PSV’s Hector Moreno. Nuno Santos’ former centre-half pairing which consisted of him and Nicolas Otamendi was a pairing which performs two roles, based on the abilities of both the players. While Otamendi is a fighting, hard tackling and highly tenacious defender, Mustafi is more cultured and conservative in his approach.

Instead of tackling hard and winning balls back with the help of a Ramos-esque combative abilities, Mustafi relies more on his positioning and reading of the game, which is commendable. He doesn’t have the pace and quick across the ground ability that both Otamendi and Ramos possess, but he has made a name for himself in the division with the help of his spot on interceptions and win-backs. The German made 1.5 tackles per game and made 3.8 interceptions too.

The role of a sweeper suits him more than that of a centre-half, to be entirely honest. He’s a composed character and is very good on the ball. He’s a ball-playing centre-half and plays 3.8 long balls per game, which is very good for any deep lying defender. Since he has plied his trade in England, he is adept in the physical side of the game and more so, the Italian game has taught him a lot, when it comes to defending tactically and reading the game impeccably. In times of need, Mustafi can slot in at right back and left back too.

Mustafi is also seen shouting out instructions to team mates, in order to put them into position and guide them as to where they must be.

This season, Mustafi has been a star turn and has been one of Valencia’s leading lights. Along with Aymen Abdennour, who has made just 3 appearances so far, Mustafi has acquired a Whoscored rating of around 7.50, which is good for any centre half. He’s scored once too. Although, Valencia’s start to the season hasn’t been impressive, but Mustafi certainly has grown in stature and is close to replacing Nicolas Otamendi, who left for Manchester City previous summer.

And as per latest reports, Mustafi has been a subject of interest from Manchester United.

And Valencia has been a club that has got a penchant for letting quality players such as David Villa, David Silva, Juan Mata, Juan Bernat and more recently, Nicolas Otamendi go to bigger powerhouse sides. Mustafi is someone who is on a similar track, if such stellar performances continue coming, he can face a similar fate too.

Written by Kaustubh Pandey

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