It is really good times for Arsenal supporters as they see their beloved team bring in two needed acquisitions before the transfer window slams shut on Wednesday.
Arsenal boss, Arséne Wenger has received flaks from a large section of the fan base for his overly-catious approach regarding splashing the cash for new acquisitions, and as rivals strengthen their teams on a yearly basis, it is relevant that Arsenal do same to avoid the havocs of the past seasons.
Shkodran Mustafi shouldd be unveiled as an Arsenal player anytime soon and the addition of the Germany international to the squad represents a statement of intent by the Gunners, who have been accused of performing below the required standard since the days of the Invincibles.
Now, we examine Shkodran Mustafi.
Who is Shkodran Mustafi?
Mustafi is Germany international centre-half, who operates in the heart of defence as a right-sided centre-back. Born in Bad Hersfeld, Germany to Albanian parents, Mustafi rejected the chance to play for Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 to play for Hamburg academy at 14 and at the age of 17, he opted to ply his trade abroad and he moved to Premier League side, Everton.
He joined the Toffees in 2009 on a free transfer, willing to prove his qualities, but Mustafi found opportunities hard to come by in Everton’s first team but he featured well for the U-21 side. He, however, decided to leave Goodison Park, having earned just 12 minutes of senior football coming in the Europa League.
Mustafi joined Sampdoria and started proving his mettle, featuring heavily for the Serie A side from November onwards in the 2012/13 season. He was fielded in both right-back and centre-back as he was able to continue his development at Sampdoria.
The 24-year old developed well at Sampdoria and his invitation to Germany 2014’s World Cup training camp as a support for his brilliant performances – although he has featured 61 times for various Germany youth side. Mustafi went to the World Cup with Germany, due to Marco Reus injury in camp and he featured for his nation but was also forced off with injury during Germany’s 2-1 AET win over Algeria in the last 16.
Germany would go on to win the World Cup and Mustafi subsequently earned a £6m move to Valencia. Mustafi formed a strong partnership with Nicolas Otámendi – now of Manchester City – as the Spanish side exceeded the expectations of many to secure a top-four finish. After the departure of the bearded Otámendi to City, Mustafi continued his excellent displays, which made him earn a place in Joachim Löw’s Germany squad for June 2016 European Championships.
Mustafi played the full 90 minutes in their first group game against Ukraine, scoring a goal and keeping a clean sheet. However, he was not selected again until their final game of the tournament – a 2-0 defeat to host nation France – with Matt Hummels and Jérôme Boateng the preferred centre-backs.
His rise and rise to stardom is no surprise and when Mustafi was left out of Valencia’s matchday squad to face Eibar in their opening La Liga match, his move to Arsenal was only a matter of time.
Mustafi’s Style Of Play and Strengths.
Despite adversity,Mustafi has worked hard to reach his potentials and he continues to develop into a top end defender.
Armed with physical strength and agility, he is able to regain possessions and unafraid to launch a tackle. Mustafi also throws himself in front of shots, making crucial blocks in the process. The German’s dedication to defending and his relentless energy will surely endear him to the Gunners faithful, who are likely to see him next to Laurent Koscielny as centre-back partners.
In the La Liga alone last term, Mustafi won 51 tackles, almost exactly double the amount Koscielny won, despite the experienced Frenchman playing three times more. Mustafi has featured in a number of top notch games over the past years, hence he is a quality player deserving this kind of transfer.
Weaknesses and Areas Mustafi Can Improve.
We – humans, animals – all have our weaknesses, so does Mustafi. In terms of weaknesses, he is not as tall as Koscielny but his aerial prowess stands out. So, Arsenal supporters should not look too much to Mustafi bailing their darling team out when set-pieces are launched by opposing teams.
Also, Mustafi is at times caught out of position when challenging for a loose ball and is still working on improving his short and long passings, having played alongside Otámendi and Boateng.
Although it has been said that Mustafi makes a lot of successful tackles, but he is not afraid to commit fouls when necessary – as expected of a defender. He has been booked 21 times over the past two seasons in La Liga. Hence, he will have to be more cautious in the Premier League when involved in a 50-50 challenge, albeit the Premier League is famed for his physical style.