Arsenal’s much-maligned centre-back Shkrodan Mustafi was expected to be sold by Unai Emery in the summer, but he failed to find a club and was left languishing on the bench from the beginning of this season.
Once Emery was sacked, Mustafi was given a reprieve by Mikel Arteta and reintroduced to the squad, and his performances have improved massively and it appears he is becoming a valuable member of the team again.
Mustafi has now spoken publicly about how difficult those times were, and how his kids kept him sane. He told the Guardian: “If you think things are over for you, then you should retire,”
“That’s not like you should think as a professional. You always get the opportunities and a team has more than 20 players for a reason.
“The main thing for me was to be professional because as long as you stay professional, you have no fault for anything. Stay professional, wait until you get your next opportunity and then obviously you have to take it.”
“In the beginning of the season, not being selected, not making the squad, it has been difficult,”
“But I am a person who tries to see more the positive things than the negatives. I think that helped me a lot. Having my family around me – my kids, my wife – because life is not only football. That’s something I kept remembering to myself. Being in training every day, playing a lot of games, you get a lot of attention but still at the end of the day I am a father of two kids and I try to focus on this as well.”
His contract at Arsenal expires in 18 months, and he is now even talking about the possibility of extending that. “I have always taken things day by day,” he said. “I always gave everything until the last minute and when I decide or when the club and I decide it is going to continue I am happy to continue. If not then we have to go forward.”
Things have certainly changed defensively under Arteta, and we now have 5 clean sheets in 9 games, with Mustafi being an integral part of the back line.
So do you think he has now been totally forgiven, or do you think he should be allowed to leave next summer?