The German international Shkrodan Mustafi came to Arsenal with a big reputation, despite flopping at Everton earlier in his career and he certainly didn’t come cheaply at a time when we were desperate to shore up our defence.
But this season, if anything, our defensive record has been even worse with Mustafi making numerous mistakes that have gifted our opponent’s crucial goals. He was yet again at fault against Newcastle last week but Arsene Wenger insists that he is still young for a centre-back and can only improve. “His confidence is lower.” the Boss said. “He has played many games and most of the mistakes he made have been post-Europa League games because he was a bit jaded.
“On that front that is part of the fatigue factor which would be the explanation why he had some less good games.
“We are in a job where we can’t demand that people, when you make mistakes, say that it’s absolutely wonderful. That’s part of Arsenal. Like me when I lose games, I have to accept that.”
There were rumours that he was nearly sold last summer, and there have been even more calling for him to be sold after this disastrous season, but Wenger says there was no truth in the rumours. “He wasn’t close [to leaving]. He is a young defender who has had ups and downs. I believe overall he has potential. He is one of the guys who is committed and goes for the challenges.
“He is not one guy who hides from the responsibility, so overall he will be a promising defender for the future. Experience helps.
“In this job, goalkeeper and central defender is a job for old people or older people. So overall that plays a part of course.”
Obviously a lot of Arsenal fans have been unhappy with the ex-Sampdoria defender, but he is still a World Cup winner and perhaps 25 is young for a centre-back. So are you happy that we will perservere with Mustafi for the forseeable future?