Saturday, August 20, 2022

Why Arsenal Cannot Afford To Miss Out On This £20m-Rated La Liga Defender

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Aakarsh Bommakanti
Was diving around lush green grass not so long ago but my keyboard is all I have now. An avid observer of detail in sports with a passion to make myself heard. Can find me playing on a field if not in front of my screen.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was criticized heavily in the middle of last season for his lack of transfer business in the summer leading to the previous season. At the start of the current transfer window, it looked like Wenger has learnt his lesson as he completed the signing of Granit Xhaka without any fuzz. However, ever since, the manager has not been able to land any of his top summer transfer targets and is now facing competition for one player who looked like he was heading to the Emirates. German international Shkodran Mustafi has been subject to a rumored move to Arsenal over the last few days but it is now understood that Italian outfit AC Milan and fellow Premier League outfit Chelsea have also joined the race for his signature.

This story will come as a huge blow for the Gunners who are currently in desperate need of a center-back. The likes of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker were expected to keep their place in the starting XI next season but the tall German defender picked up an unfortunate injury that will keep him out of the game for upto 5 months. This has seen the manager dive into the transfer market for another centre-back who can slot into the string XI at the Emirates. The Gunners already have the likes of Gabriel Paulista and Rob Holding (the new summer signing) but Wenger is not expected to give neither a full time place in the starting XI till his injured German is back which has left the him searching in the transfer market.

This is why Mustafi is a must-buy for Wenger. The manager will not find centre-backs with such experience and attributes who are ready to make a move at his price this summer. Mustafi has been one of the most consistent defenders in La Liga since his move there and has been an exciting prospect over the years. He is a strong and athletic centre half that loves to keep his area away from danger.

Germany's defender Shkodran Mustafi (L) vies for the ball with France's forward Andre-Pierre Gignac during the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016.  / AFP / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT        (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Germany’s defender Shkodran Mustafi (L) vies for the ball with France’s forward Andre-Pierre Gignac during the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016.
/ AFP / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)

He has a great understanding of the game that allows him to stay a step ahead of his opponents in most times while his ariel abilities make him a good suit for English football. He loves to ping an inch-perfect long-ball every now and then but is also comfortable with playing the ball on the ground. His tacking and interception abilities will attract Wenger who will want a player like him to lead his side into the next season.

A centre-back pairing of Koscielny and Mustafi looks rock solid and if Arsenal can get their hands on the 24-year old German international, he may even be able to displace Mertesacker from the starting XI. Arsenal need a top-class centre-back and not a temporary fix. They are not ready to blow the cash on a defender and are reluctant to meet the £20m but for the value that Mustafi carries with him, he is easily worth more than his price. Wenger will be well advised to spend the cash because if he misses out on Mustafi, he may well have to settle with a fringe player for the amount he is ready to pay. Do you think Arsenal should stop money-balling and meet Mustafi’s asking price?

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