Arsenal fans were left frustrated last year as their team finished runner-ups behind champions Leicester City. The frustration intensified further with the knowledge that Wenger was the only manager in the top five leagues across Europe not to sign an outfield player. This summer hasn’t been much different, having signed Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka earlier in the window, many big name signings were expected at the Emirates. However, fans have again been left high and dry with only Takuma Asano and Rob Holding the two players to have joined the Gunners following Xhaka’s arrival.
Wenger is desperately looking for a world class striker who can complement Giroud upfront and contribute towards team progress next season. There is also a need to sign a centre-back following Per Mertesacker‘s unfortunate long-term injury, which will most likely keep him out till the turn of the year. With Koscielny yet to return for preseason training and Paulista struggling with illness, Wenger is left with only Chambers and Holding as the two central options in defense. Therefore it’s no surprise that the Gunners have been heavily linked with Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi. There were also rumours linking Arsenal with a move for Inter Milan defender Jeison Murillo.
Mustafi has already played in England for Everton, where he was wasted for three years. He soon moved to Sampdoria before joining Valencia in 2014. At Valencia, he has gone on to become one of the most consistent defenders in world football, which was resulted in him being called up for the national team in 2014. Mustafi is excellent in the air just like Mertesacker, averaging at least three successful aerial duels. He presence in the air is not only limited to defense but he is also a great threat in the opposition box during set-pieces.
At 24 years of age, Mustafi could be an ideal candidate to lead the defense line in the future. According to some sources, his valuation in the market is around €20m, something Wenger shouldn’t shy from spending given the urgency of the situation. He is a clever and quick defender, who doesn’t panic in and around the box and follows a clear first approach. With his peak years fast approaching a move to the Emirates could be perfect for the German international at this point. Although Arsenal have Holding and Chambers as backup defenders, they need someone experienced who can slot right into the starting XI alongside Koscielny. Paulista himself hasn’t quite settled in at the Emirates after moving to London last year.
Given that he is still not being courted by other big clubs, this will be the perfect chance for Wenger to make a move. Mustafi won’t only bring vast experience to the Arsenal back-line but greater solidity. He will work in tandem with Koscielny and help share the burden at the back.