Arsenal: How much of a crisis are the Gunners in?
Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi has emerged as a shock target for La Liga giants Barcelona. The player’s agent has revealed a meeting has taken place with the Catalan club over his client.
The German World Cup winner has fallen out of favour at the Emirates after four years in orth London, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season.
Despite 150 appearances in red and white and playing a role in two FA Cup winning squads, Mustafi has faced heavy criticism from fans over his erratic displays.
This does not seem to have dissuaded the five-time European champions who are looking to add another centre back to their squad.
Mustafi’s agent Emre Öztürk was recently spotted at the Nou Camp and was rumoured to be discussing a move for 17-year-old Yusuf Demir.
When asked about his visit, Öztürk revealed the meeting was actually about the Gunners defender.
“I’m not in Barcelona because of Yusuf Demir,” he told SPOX journalist Fabian Zerche.
“But because of Mustafi from Arsenal, whom we also represent.”
Mustafi, 28, is set to leave the Emirates for free at the end of the season and can agree a pre-contract in January over a potential summer move.
Arsenal may be happy to get the player off the books at any cost when the window opens and will hope any potential discussions are fruitful.
Barcelona are said to be in the market for an emergency centre-back following a long-term injury to Gerard Pique.
Mustafi was a member of Germany’s 2014 World Cup winning squad but missed the final through injury.
The defender joined Arsenal for a hefty £35million fee in 2016 but struggled to live up to his price tag following a string of mistakes and disappointing performances.
Mustafi’s first season ended as part of Arsenal’s successful FA Cup winning squad although again, missed the final win over Chelsea with concussion.
It was the same story earlier this year as a hamstring injury ruled him out as the Gunners beat Chelsea once again.
The defender has seen his appearances restricted so far this season, coming off the bench twice in the Premier League.
Manager Mikel Arteta has chosen mostly to play Mustafi in the Europa League where he featured in five of Arsenal’s six group matches.
Mustafi played 90 minutes for the Gunners in their humiliating 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night and did not cover himself in glory.
The German defender has fallen down the pecking order and no longer appears to be in Arteta’s long-term plans.
The Gunners are well-stocked at centre-back with the likes of Summer signing Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding, David Luiz, Callum Chambers and Pablo Mari all ahead of him in the pecking order.
Earning a reported £90,000 a week, Arsenal are keen to get the player off their wage bill sooner rather than later.
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