The German defender Shkrodan Mustafi was finally unveiled as an Arsenal player yesterday, and in his first interview with the official Arsenal website he described how hard Arsene Wenger had to work to bring him to the Emirates and what he expects to bring to the squad.
“I’m happy.” Mustafi said. “It took some time but finally I’m here and I’m happy to have made a step forward in my career again, because I think it is a step forward to have joined this club. I hope I’m going to have a great time here.”
And what was Arsene Wenger’s role in the move? “Really it was the interest. When a club comes in and shows interest, and it’s a club like Arsenal, that makes you feel special. When I heard of the interest and I saw people trying to get me here – and the situation wasn’t the easiest one – but when you see that people really want to get you here, it gives the feeling that you’re really wanted. That’s why I’m here right now.”
And for those Arsenal fans who think that the players don’t take any interest in what is being said on the internet should take note of what Mustafi said next about seeing our online interest. “Yeah, I noticed. I saw a lot of pictures going around on Twitter, on Instagram and on Facebook. Some of them made me laugh as well. I know that for people who watch football and live football, waiting for new signings isn’t easy sometimes. All the signings know there are a lot of things going on in the transfer, so you have to make sure you do everything good to have a good start. That’s what we did. We tried to take our time, do everything the best way you can do it and then start this episode here correctly.”
The German was then asked to explain his playing style to the Arsenal fans. “I’ve been playing in different countries. I’m only 24 but I’ve played in Italy, in Germany and in England, where I had some time with Everton. Then I played in Spain as well, so I’ve tried really to take some of the style of the different countries. Right now I would say that I’m quite an aggressive player. I go into everything, that’s what I learnt in England. But on the other side, I’m quite tactical. I try to read the game, like you do in Italy. With the ball, I try to play out and enjoy having the ball, not just giving it away as soon as you get it.
“When I came to England, I was quite young. I was only 17 and it’s not easy when you come to a different country with a different language, a different culture and a different style of football. The main thing was that I grew up. From a boy, I became a man. The way you play football here, the way that you don’t have excuses for things made me grow up.”
“When you change team, obviously you try to always make a step forward. I think coming here I’ve made a step forward, because Arsenal is a big club with big players and a great manager. For me I think the most important thing was if I made a change, could I learn something? Was it going to be good for my development? I think that being here now is going to help me grow as a player.”
Well he sounds confident and intelligent, and at his age he still has great scope to grow further and become a long term rock at the back for Arsenal. I’m looking forward to him learning even more from Koscielny and taking his leaders role once the Frenchman hangs up his boots. This could be oneof Wenger’s best buys….