Barcelona in talks with Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi's agent (Mustafi is seen in the photo)
Shkodran Mustafi of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Everton FC at Emirates Stadium on February 23, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

According to Sport, Barcelona could make a move for Shkodran Mustafi. The Arsenal defender has been identified as one of the potential targets for the Spanish giants, who are desperate to reinforce their defensive department. Although Eric Garcia of Manchester City remains their top target, Mustafi, along with his German national teammate Antonio Rudiger are among players courted as alternatives.

Shkodran Mustafi’s Spell Under Mikel Arteta

Last season, Mustafi was one of several Arsenal defenders who improved under Mikel Arteta. The much-maligned central defender even played a key role in the club’s FA Cup-winning campaign but was unfortunate to pick up an injury that kept him out on the sidelines in the summer.

To add to his misfortunes, Arsenal have found a lot of success in the defensive department following the arrival of Gabriel Magalhaes. The Brazilian centre-back has emerged as a defensive lynchpin for the Gunners while the likes of Rob Holding and David Luiz have also provided reliable options in the first-team for the Arsenal manager.

As a result, Mustafi has featured in just four matches in all competitions so far, two of which have come in the UEFA Europa League. Following the performances of Holding and Gabriel, it appears that the German international may have to settle for a bit-part role at Emirates from now on.

Barcelona could make a move for Shkodran Mustafi - He is not valued member of the team anymore.
Shkodran Mustafi of Arsenal FC reacts during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match between Arsenal FC and Olympiacos FC at Emirates Stadium on February 27, 2020, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Why Arteta Should Offload Mustafi

Despite his excellent run of form during the backend of last season, Mustafi is not a fit for Arsenal anymore for multiple reasons. Arteta, in particular, has made a lot of changes to his system this term, including the re-introduction of the four-man backline that has reduced the defender’s chances of getting more first-team minutes.

Not to mention, the Gunners already have a plethora of options available in central defence, including Kieran Tierney, Luiz, Gabriel and Holding while both Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari are soon expected to return to full fitness. The departures of fringe players like Mustafi and Sokratis, therefore, could potentially serve as a financial boost for the club. It could also prevent the unnecessary stacking of players in the defensive unit.

That is where Mustafi’s potential move to FC Barcelona could bode well for Arsenal, as they look to restructure their wage bill following the addition of Thomas Partey in the summer. However, the German’s move away from Emirates could hinge on Barcelona’s success in their pursuit of Eric Garcia and whether or not they choose Mustafi as their desired alternative.

Jack O’Brien

A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.