Shkodran Mustafi Hints at Arsenal Exit: 'I'm Open to Taking the Next Step'

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 04: Shkodran Mustafi of Arsenal FC controls the ball during the warm up of the match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal at Camp Nou on August 4, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/MB Media/Getty Images)
Eric Alonso/MB Media/Getty Images

Shkodran Mustafi has said he is open to departing Arsenal after being afforded limited game time early in the 2019-20 season. 

David Luiz, Sokratis and Calum Chambers have all started ahead of the German centre-back in the Premier League this term, and he had to wait until Thursday's 3-0 UEFA Europa League win over Eintracht Frankfurt to make his first appearance of the season.

The Gunners tried and failed to offload him in the summer, and Mustafi has consequently hinted that if an opportunity arises elsewhere, particularly in Germany, he would be open to taking it up, per MailOnline's Adrian Kajumba:

"My dad talked to the club. I am a player of Arsenal and have another two years of contract. I was never the one who starts a war when something does not work out. If something turns out, I'm open to taking the next step. If not, then I will continue my football.

"The coach told me that he sees me the same way as any player in the team. That's why I played today. I do not want to say that this is not an issue. I have a wife and two children, and that has to be sanctioned. If at some point a club from Germany has interest and it fits, I'm open for it."

Mustafi, 27, joined Arsenal in 2016 from Valencia for £35 million with a stellar reputation:

A 2014 FIFA World Cup winner with Germany, he was supposed to be key in tightening up Arsenal's leaky defence.

However, in his three seasons at the Emirates Stadium, Mustafi has tarnished his reputation with a string of frustrating mistakes, as Arsenal blogger Tim Stillman highlighted: 

It is clear he is no longer one of Unai Emery's first-choice centre-backs. Nor has he been utilised at right-back, where he can also play.

Mustafi is only likely to slip further down the pecking order once Rob Holding returns to fitness after close to a year out with a cruciate ligament injury.

From his latest comments, it is clear the former Sampdoria man wants out of the Emirates. He is still young, particularly for a centre-back, and he would have every chance of revitalising his career at a club where he is under less scrutiny and pressure than Arsenal.

It would be little surprise to see Mustafi leave north London when the January transfer window opens.

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