Thursday 20 September 2018

Mustafi deal not signed and sealed

Gunners are still on trail of no-nonsense German defender

Shkodran Mustafi, pictured in action for Germany during Euro 2016. Photo:Darko Vojinovic
Shkodran Mustafi, pictured in action for Germany during Euro 2016. Photo:Darko Vojinovic
Arsene Wenger hopes to solve Arsenal’s defensive woes if the £30m move for Shkodran Mustafi comes true. Photo: Scott Heppell

Arsenal have not yet agreed personal terms with Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi, despite reports to the contrary.

The 24-year-old Germany international has been a target for Arsene Wenger after injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel left the Gunners boss with depleted defensive options.


Gabriel is out for six to eight weeks after suffering an ankle injury in the 3-2 friendly victory over Manchester City last Sunday.

But, contrary to reports which surfaced yesterday, that his agent has announced a deal between Arsenal and Mustafi confirming the deal had been finalised for £30m, it is believed no such talks have taken place.

Mustafi, who spent time at Everton earlier in his career without ever breaking into the first team at Goodison Park, scored for his country at Euro 2016 in their group-stage win over Ukraine and could still be set for a move to the Emirates Stadium.

But it is belived the quotes attributed to agent Ali Bulut are inaccurate.

"Shkodran and Arsenal are in agreement. Just the clubs now still need to agree on a fee," he is quoted as saying to German sports website spox.com.

A no-nonsense defender, the 24-year-old Mustafi has earned a reputation with Valencia as one of the most reliable performers in La Liga.

However, his previous experience of English football means Arsenal fans will hope he has matured a little from his ill-fated spell at Everton, whom he left for Italian club Sampdoria back in 2012.

The 24-year-old failed to to make an impact under Toffees manager David Moyes during a three-year spell, making just a single appearance for the club from the bench in a Europa League tie.

Speaking about his spell with Everton earlier this year, Mustafi said: "At the end of my time in England, I thought "I'm only 20, and I'm already sick of football."'

His successful time in Serie A earned him a transfer to Valencia where he became a firm favourite with the club's supporters.

Mustafi's time with Valencia saw him establish himself as a full German international and he helped his country to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 earlier this summer.


Arsenal kick off their Premier League campaign at home to Liverpool on Sunday, with their other experienced centre-back Laurent Koscielny having failed to play in pre-season as he recovers from his exertions with France at Euro 2016.

After losing Mertesacker, Wenger admitted he would be forced back into the market for a central defender and that need has only been intensified with Gabriel's set-back coming in Sunday's 3-2 friendly victory over Manchester City in Sweden.

Reports have also linked Arsenal with West Brom's former Manchester United defender Jonny Evans.

But if no new signings are made before the season begins, Wenger could be left to field an unfamiliar defensive unit against Jurgen Klopp's Reds.

Calum Chambers is still yet to break into the side and Rob Holding has only recently joined from Bolton, while midfielder Francis Coquelin revealed a fortnight ago he has been playing in defence during pre-season training. There is also the possibility of Nacho Monreal moving inside from his usual position at left-back.

Meanwhile, Arsenal's hopes of signing Alexandre Lacazette could finally end with Lyon expected to inform the Premier League club that the transfer fee now being demanded for the striker has risen to a staggering £59.9 million.

Lyon are due to meet with Lacazette's representatives and will offer the 25-year-old a lucrative new long-term contract.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has been adamant throughout the summer that Lacazette will not be sold, despite sources indicating that he was keen to move to Arsenal.

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