One of the criticisms that has been aimed at Arsene Wenger and Arsenal over the last 10 years, while the Gunners never really came close to winning the Premier League title that we all want, was that he failed to recruit the players that Arsenal needed.
It was not just that the Frenchman seemed to be the only one that seemed to think we were okay without a tough tackling defensive midfielder or that he failed to sign a striker when injury problems had left us bereft up front and good chances were going begging on a regular basis.
The theory put forward time and again by members of the football media was that the club and the squad did not have enough strong characters and leaders to get us through the hard times and drive the team on when it was needed. Well perhaps Wenger has hit two birds with one stone this summer when he completed the transfer of Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia.
As reported by Metro, the former Arsenal striker Alan Smith has revealed that people at the club have been talking about what a strong character the German defender is and that the dressing room has become a much more forthright place since his arrival. Along with his ability and the burgeoning relationship between him and Koscielny, do these leadership qualities make Mustafi the signing we have needed for some time?
Smith said, ‘Those at Arsenal confirm that he is no shrinking violet when it comes to speaking up in the dressing room.
‘A new arrival, maybe, but the 24-year-old is not afraid to say his piece. Of course, that is how it should be. Strong voices and views go hand in hand with successful teams.
‘Yet Arsenal have not always been blessed with such forthright sorts, whether by coincidence or through a deliberate policy from Arsene Wenger.
‘They say that has changed now, that some players speak up with a little more force.
‘If Mustafi contributes to the debate, that can only be good at a time when Per Mertesacker, a respected voice, is injured long-term.
‘Mind you, Mertesacker’s compatriot might be the future now as a quicker, more mobile alternative in central defence.
‘We saw that in the way he handled Diego Costa recently, doubling up with Koscielny to expertly smother Chelsea’s main danger.’
Do you think Mustafi could make the difference between Arsenal getting another top four spot and actually lifting the EPL trophy?