Who will lose out when Mustafi arrives at Arsenal?

Who will drop down the pecking order on Mustafi’s arrival!

It is all but confirmed that Arsenal will be signing Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi in the coming days in what is expected to be a £35 million deal.

The price is a hefty one for Arsene Wenger, especially for a defender and so we will all be eagerly anticipating what the German international will bring to Arsenal football club. There is no doubt that Mustafi will be a first choice centre back for Arsenal because if your Arsene Wenger, you don’t spend £35 million on a player who is going to spend most of his time sitting on the bench. It means that one of our current crop of central defenders will lose his place in the squad and here we will assess who is likely to fall down the pecking order.

Laurent Koscielny for me is Arsenal’s best central defender and there’s no doubt about it. Even with the addition of Mustafi, Koscielny will still remain as our best defender in my opinion. Koscielny’s return to the Arsenal side just goes to show how much stronger he makes that back line. Koscielny offers so much strength and stability at the back and now that he is finally being paired with another (hopefully) top class defender, Arsenal fans can be assured that the defensive line is no longer a concern.

Per Mertesacker was still a first choice centre back for Arsenal last season, however this year after picking up an injury during pre-season, it seems like Mustafi’s German compatriot may be set to lose his place in the team. Mertesacker’s injury will keep him out until Christmas at least and then even after that date I’d expect the likes of Holding and Gabriel to be ahead of him. Mertesacker used to use his ability to read the game to make up for his lack of pace, however now that it seems his legs may be tiring with the physical demands of the Premier League, perhaps Mertesacker’s time at Arsenal is also coming to an end.

Rob Holding is Arsenal’s other defensive signing of the window and has looked impressive after being very much forced into the first team. After joining from relegated championship side Bolton, many expected the inexperienced Holding to struggle straight away with moving to a top premier league side. However although he had a shakey game in defence with Chambers against Liverpool, alongside Koscielny Holding has looked very solid and he definitely holds plenty of promise. I think given the start to his Arsenal career that he has had, Holding will be very unlucky to lose his place to Mustafi when he comes in.

Calum Chambers looked relatively impressive during pre-season, but was at fault on several occasions during the opener against Liverpool. Very much like the game against Swansea in which he was shown up at Right Back, it seems that Chambers has once again fallen down the pecking order and is now apparently set for a loan move away.

Gabriel is in my opinion a defender who I don’t have much faith in. He has shown to be aggressive, determined and pacey, but I also see a clumsy side to his game and I still think he lacks the necessary communication skills needed to play at such a position. I think if Gabriel doesn’t improve soon and he doesn’t a good campaign this season, then we could soon see the Brazilian leaving the Gunners for good.

With all that in mind then, it seems that Calum Chambers will be at the bottom of the pile when it comes to Arsenal’s current crop of defenders. But if Chambers is set to go on loan then despite how much I like Mertesacker as a passionate player, he has to be the one who loses his place in the Arsenal squad for me. His age seems to be showing now and I’m fairly sure he won’t feature too much this season now that Mustafi is almost a Gooner!



  1. If we were impatient with Koscielny the way we are impatient with Gabriel now, we wouldn’t have the Koscielny of today. Have we forgotten his red cards and own goals so soon? Gabriel has all the ingredients to be a top class defender (if he improves on his communication). Get behind him!

    1. Maybe so… But carrying him through that period undoubtedly cost us points and arguably a trophy. CB is not a position to mess around with.
      The cries of Wenger favoritism definitely has it’s merits so this season I really don’t want to see any passengers. And judging by our signings we’ve brought in three players who will absolutely put a shift in, not shy away from any game or any opposition and it’s going to put some serious pressure on our more inconsistent players to perform week in, week out!
      If you’re good enough, you’ll get your shot. The issue is giving the players who are nearly good enough too many chances when we should be going for here and now.

      The rumored loan moves of Wilshere and Chambers with Xhaka and Mustafi coming in is personally brilliant. Ruthlessness and upgrading the squad ahead of potential which we haven’t seen in a while.

      1. The wait paid of massively, sure the error from Kos and Scez cost us a carling cup trophy but we ended up with a world class CB for 4+ years and counting.

        If I remember correctly Kos scored in the last game for 2 seasons in a row, which brought us Champion League by the smallest margin.

        1. It did.. But looking at the squad now are we really at the stage where we want to look down the line or do we want to challenge?

        2. how can you say the wait was paid while you can clearly see we are 12 years and counting without the EPL trophy? we have seen all these talks of ‘if we buy so and so they’ll hinder development of so and so.. and where did that get us? worldwide mockery of all arsenal fans.

          how i wish admin could enable users in this site to upload images for everyone to see. all the pics made in the mockery of our team, the fans and Wenger. it’s painful

          wish Wenger could go all out, buy what’s needed to win the trophy, then loosen a bit, but in the long run no one can say we are trophy less. I mean the countdown starts again, 12 years is a long time

          1. I said the wait for KOS was worth it, what I wanted to say is we should not give up on Gaberial and Chambers that easily.

  2. The only bit Id differ on is Holding and Gabriel being ahead of Mertesacker. Mert has way too much experience and he is our captain don’t forget. I highly doubt he will drop to the bottom of the pack. If Mustafi or Kos pull up at some point Mert will come in I’m sure of it, between Mert and Holding we have two quality back up options. You might not think Mert is a top quality first teamer but as a second choice he certainly is. I think it would be a step backwards if we are to cut ties with Mert just because we got another experienced player and an up and comer. Like you say Gabriel is a bit suspect, so losing Mert now or at end of season will put us back to (who are hopefully) three reliable defenders. We look good there right now because we have five options, four senior CBs and a youngster, then there’s Biellik and Chambers who need time to develop. We look strong right now at the back because of talent and numbers. Lets not lose that just yet.

    1. Gabriel had the most errors of any of our CB’s last season by some margin.
      Sure pace, legs blah, blah.. But how many times do you see Per lose out 1v1 or struggle to deal with balls coming in on his flank?? Gabriel is behind Per by some margin….

  3. How many CB’s do we need? Turns out a lot…..
    Kos – hmm no brainer?
    Mustafi – hopefully adapts instantly. Fluent in English, German and Spanish which is actually freaking amazing as no communication barrier with… Any of our CB’s!! Happy days!! Seems built for the PL, with a bit of an easier run now i hope he’s integrated instantly, so if he does have an error or two in him they’re out of the way early as the big club clashes are going to be sooooooooo important this season.
    Mertz – Some criticisms are warranted.. Others are just blatantly disregarding just how solid he has been for us over multiple seasons. As far as third choices go, he’s my personal pick as he has a wealth of experience, knows what’s expected and can sit on the bench for a long period and then perform well either on short notice or when someone needs a rest.
    Chambers and Gabriel – People may disagree, but both have shown they are prone to mental lapses and losing out on challenges they really shouldn’t at this level. Can’t help but feel both are the victim of coming from a club they played every week to sporadic appearances and an inability to get in the groove or form a tried and tested pairing. Chambers is reportedly being granted a loan move to Boro which is good news, as hopefully, we’ll see a bit more of what he’s like as a CB performing weekly in the Prem. Gabs…. Honestly…. I just don’t know.. I’ll reserve saying definitively, but my gut says won’t make it with us over long-term though my instincts could be wrong.
    Holding – now we’ve actually snapped up an international quality CB can we look at the transfer for what it is?? A seemingly top-notch CB prospect brought in for peanuts!! Too early to assess but what I’ve seen looks well beyond his years.
    Bielik – No idea what the future holds but an observation I’d like to make is that it takes a very special kind of prospect to be kept around at this age in favor of instant first-team football over a loan move. Bellerin, Iwobi, Cesc, Coquelin (before he was sent out, I actually have very fond memories of his brief stint in the first-team and pocketing Modric in a great win vs Spurs) and Gnabry (before his injury). Considering the age he’s at now and the wealth of options we have in his positions (CB and DM), kinda getting the feeling we may see a bit of him this season and I’ve been nothing but very impressed with him every time I’ve seen him.

    1. You might thought and said the same thing about Koscielny years ago, because I was. So, we might be wrong again this time. I see Gabriel now is like young Koscielny was. In the past, Kos even worst with his own goals record. Gab will be good as Kos today, remember this.

      1. I’m not disputing the fact that there’s a potentially talented player in there, what I’m disputing is whether or not we should field a weakened position in our first XI to get him there….
        We’ve obviously reaped the rewards of Koscielny gaining so much experience, though how can people neglect the fact that he was one of the most error prone CB’s in the process that undoubtedly cost us points??
        We’ve gone through the gambling in the transfer market phase, the buying players who COULD BE good enough to fill in the voids of the players we sold to turn a profit. But I’m really, really, really hoping that phase is over and the sentiments for potential will not be prioritized over success here and now…
        A lot of fans claim they want Wenger to be more ruthless and not field the ‘Wenger favourites’…. I’ll ask of you the question, (and I really, really despise asking it) Do you think Gabriel would be anywhere close to Pep and Mourinho’s squads at their respective clubs this season?

        1. Leaving aside the fact that Gabriel is injured, yes, I do believe Pep & Mourinho would have highly considered Gabriel.

  4. I think the defenders we have we all see game time. but I predict Koscelny and Mustafi will b our first choices for premier league and Champions league games. while Holding and gabriel will pair for the cup games and mertesacker will play a bit part role this season. All in all I would say this comperition for places is a healthy situation for Arsenal no matter who ever loses out because it will take everyone to be focus and bring d best out of them.

  5. Gabriel has been rather unlucky, he needs a good run in the team, very similar to Kos development, but unfortunately i do not think he will get the time needed for him to be as good as Kos. Holding i feel will be used more than Gabriel with Either Mustafi or Kos has a partner. We expect our major pairing is going to be mustafi /Kos, but we should also remember Kos has back and heel problems that pops up regularly, i have no doubt the Kos takes a lot of meds, but lets wait an see.

    Chambers getting a loan opportunity , i hope what ever club he goes he gets some game time, for me i think he could become a outstanding DM rather than a CB, but as i said the main focus is games. Wilshere going out on loan only says one thing to me, his time is up at arsenal and it is just the beginning of his decline. Injuries has decimated his career, for some reason i can not see him staying fit to resurrect his career. I have no doubt he is talented, but is bones, joints and muscles have let him down, also his knowledge of how to take care of his body. If Gnarby leaves i could understand why, when he first got call up into arsenal squad you saw the talent following instruction, defending and attacking and then eventually scoring i felt elated for him, then ox and walcott came back from injure and he was benched, then wenger came out and said we have to be careful with the young talent, couple weeks after he got a seriously injuried. Sent to loan with a Pulis and basically got no game time, had a wonderful Olympics. Gnarby has proven he can manage the league with is power and pace imagine the heights he would have reached if given the time such as OX, Walcott, Bellerin and Iwobi.
    I hope he extends his contract , stays healthy and be given the chance to show Wenger and his British core up

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs