Shkodran Mustafi Says He's Open to Arsenal Stay: 'Why Not?'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2020

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Shkodran Mustafi of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Arsenal FC at Turf Moor on February 2, 2020 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Shkodran Mustafi has said he'd be happy to stay at Arsenal after regaining his place in the team under Mikel Arteta.

The centre-back had only featured once in the Premier League before Arteta took charge in December, putting his future in the club in doubt, but he could yet salvage his career at the Emirates Stadium.

"Why not?" he said, per Goal's Charles Watts"When I decide, or when the club and I decide, it is going to continue I am happy, if not, then we have to go forward."

He added:

"If you think things are over for you, then you should retire. That's not like you should think as a professional. 

"You always get the opportunities and a team has more than 20 players for a reason. There is a lot of competition, there are a lot of games and everyone in the team is needed."

Mustafi was dropped by Arteta's predecessor, Unai Emery, having failed to impress for much of his time at the club following his arrival from Valencia in 2016.

Defensive mistakes have often characterised the 27-year-old's Arsenal career.

Last summer, he was booed by some sections of Arsenal supporters during pre-season.

However, he has turned things around under Arteta:

Art de Roché @ArtdeRoche

"Oh Shkodran Mustafi" is sung by the Clock End

Mustafi has now made seven league appearances this season and started Arsenal's last four games in the English top flight.

In all competitions, he has helped the Gunners keep three consecutive clean sheets for the first time this season, with a 0-0 draw at Burnley followed by 4-0 and 1-0 victories over Newcastle United and Olympiacos, respectively.

He had also been substituted before Bournemouth scored in their 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Arsenal on January 27.

Football.London's James Benge hailed the German's performance against Burnley:

James Benge @jamesbenge

I didn’t want to jinx it during the game but how fantastic was Mustafi? - 7/7 clearances (team-leading) - 4/4 headed clearances - 6/8 defensive aerial duels won (game-leading) One of his best performances in an Arsenal shirt

The Telegraph's Sam Dean praised Arteta for his role in helping Mustafi turn things around:

Sam Dean @SamJDean

It says a lot about Arteta’s work on the training ground that Mustafi, Xhaka and Saka (playing out of position) have been three of Arsenal’s best performers since his appointment.

Mustafi's contract expires in 2021, so this summer is the Gunners' last major opportunity to recoup the £35 million they spent on him in 2016.

Before Arsenal consider extending his stay, he'll need to show he can sustain his improved form long term, but if he can keep this level up until the remainder of the campaign, it may be worth doing.

If they decide it would be better to cash in on him, his improved form will likely generate much more interest in him than he might otherwise have received.