German defender Shkodran Mustafi would be an ideal fit at Arsenal

Shkodran Mustafi

When it was announced that Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker underwent surgery for a significant knee injury on Tuesday, one thing was for certain: a new center back would have to be brought in as cover this summer.  While the Gunners were reportedly already in the market for an additional central defender prior to the unfortunate news, the BFG’s injury will force manager Arsene Wenger into making a swift move for a new recruit.

Wenger made the announcement on the important player by saying, “We have bad news on Per Mertesacker.  He played in Lens on Friday night, he finished the game and had a little pain on his knee.  We found out the next day that it was much more serious than expected.  He had surgery yesterday in Germany.  It all went well.  I know you will ask me for how long he will be out.  I don’t know that, it’s [some] months, but I don’t know [exactly] how long he will be out for.” Reports have suggested that the former Germany international will be sidelined for up to five months.

The Arsenal manager did, however, ease Gunner fans by explaining that he will be bringing in a new center back during the summer transfer period.  “We have to look for an option to get a bit more experience,” proclaimed Wenger.  “We will see some of our young centre backs on Thursday as well.  With Per being out, we are a bit short on the experience front and we are looking to bring somebody in.”

One player that is being talked about frequently as a possible Arsenal recruit is Shkodran Mustafi.  The Valencia center back has multiple years of experience in both La Liga and Serie A leagues, as well as 12 caps for Germany.  Although the former Everton youth player does have an understanding for playing in some of Europe’s top leagues, he is just 24-years-old and seemingly still has time to develop even further.

Mustafi is a strong, tough-tackling defender.  The Valencia player ranked in the top 10 in interceptions, blocks, and clearances during the 2015/16 La Liga season.  Despite being just 6’0”, Mustafi is also quite good in the air, as he won 73% of his aerial duels during league play (better than Gabriel Paulista and Laurent Koscielny).  With 51 total tackles in 30 league matches played last season, Mustafi equaled both Koscielny and Mertesacker combined in their 2015/16 campaign for Arsenal.  It appears that the 24-year-old would fit in quite nicely with the Gunners.

arsenal-defender-comparison

The Gunners could do a lot worse than securing a move for Mustafi.  With Valencia reportedly asking for around £20 million for their star defender, Arsenal wouldn’t have to break the bank to get a quality center back.  The price is right, the player is right, and Wenger should move quickly to bring in Mustafi before a bidding war begins.

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