Arsenal finally announced the capture of Shkodran Mustafi, and the German could be the long term answer to our clubs defence.
Whether you agree with Arsenal’s transfer methods or not, the signing of defender Shkodran Mustafi must be taken as a signal of intent.
The German international has officially put pen to paper on a five year deal, and the £35m signing has the pedigree to go with the mammoth transfer fee.
At just 24 years old, the full German international is more than the stereotypical astute German defender, and his experience in his relatively short career give him an edge over many.
Here are some things you may not know about Mustafi, and why we Gooners can look forward to an assured presence at the back.
Mustafi is a former Toffee
Yup. Starting his career at Hamburg SV, he was snapped up by Everton in 2009 and played for their youth team for three years, and making one substitute appearance for the first team in that time. It means he will have an advantage regarding acclimatising to the fast paced Premier League, and can hit the ground running.
He has played in Italy, England and Spain
Leaving Everton for Sampdoria for a mere £64k, he went on to make 53 appearances in his time with the Italian club, which attracted Valencia to shell out just shy of £7m for his signature in the summer of 2014. Testing himself against a wide variety of opposition, and being able to settle in to life in different countries, means that Mustafi possesses a mental toughness which will be invaluable as a defender.In fact, he is the only German World Cup winner never to have played in the Bundesliga.
He can fill in at Right-Back
Mustafi earned the greatest accolade of his career – the World Cup in 2014 – largely being played out of position. Primarily a centre-back, he gained worldwide recognition slotting in on the right of Germany’s defence. A pretty valuable asset given our woeful injury record year after year!
He isn’t simply a defender, he’s far more than that
Type his name into the video section of your search engine, and there are a plethora of montages showing our new German displaying some rather excellent ball-juggling. He certainly possesses more than just a clearance, and playing out from the back is certainly within his skillset. For Valencia, especially last season, his coolness under pressure was tested to the max as his side struggled at times, but Mustafi performed well.
There are many other parts that make up the defender, but those above are relevant as to how he will benefit our side. He is known to be good friends with Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker, and solidarity amongst his teammates cannot be underestimated.
His price tag may be an albatross around his neck, but so far, nothing seems to have been too tough a challenge, from moving countries to learning new tactics implemented by the variety of coaches he has worked under.
What has been noticed in his time at Valencia, is that technically he is sound, but he is not the shouty leader that many central defenders evolve into – although he certainly lets his teammates know about their errors if needs be! He showed enough to earn the captaincy temporarily for the Spanish team, so he can adapt if the need arises.
So, we have acquired a young, talented World Cup winner who has experience playing in top leagues and can immediately make an impact upon the team. Shkodran Mustafi may be a masterstroke in the transfer market and he has the potential to be a cornerstone of the side for many years.