On Mustafi and Building Something New

The international break is well and truly upon us with the local press abuzz. Interviews, frequently more honest and often more indiscreet, fill the back pages.

Shkodran Mustafi turned up in Der Speigel but then it was a talk which might have taken place at any time; the German is no longer required by Joachim Löw, which comes of no surprise to anyone, least of all himself.

It’s a fairly open and honest interview. I didn’t know, for instance, that a Marca poll voted him the second-worst defender in the world. To be fair, I’m struggling to think who would rank lower. Turns out it was Phil Jones which I won’t argue with.

The actual interesting part was the talk of social media. It is easy to say players should ignore it but with the effort invested in brands, it is impossible. Then there is the human element; in the public eye, you’d need skin thicker than a rhino to completely ignore what is being said about you.

As Mustafi says,

I would like to see more restrictions [on the internet] in the future. What’s on the internet will never disappear. And I’m worried that this will eventually affect my children.

Mustafi on when jokes go too far

There is the rub. There’s always someone’s family catching the flak when jokes turn nasty; go beyond the pale and turn into abuse. Then there are those who don’t even mask vitriol with some semblance of humour.

‘Twas ever thus and reflects our society as a whole. Which makes no excuse for that behaviour nor justifies it; that is an observation.

Movers and Shakers

The German spoke about his future at the club and what happened over the course of the summer. Months in which you remember Unai Emery made it patently obvious Mustafi had no future at Arsenal. It earned the Spaniard much criticism; it wasn’t deemed to be the ‘Arsenal Way’.

Mustafi took the hint:

Not as daft as he looks…

“No option that would have satisfied all sides” is an interesting statement. The club accepted, he didn’t? Vice versa? It’s hard to see Arsenal putting up much resistance since the imperative was to reduce the wage bill.

Throughout the whole interview, it’s clear he still believes he can play at the highest level. Redemption may yet come but the dynamic of a move is weighted against him. For a start, Bundesliga clubs must show an interest in him and his wretched form won’t help him.

As he observed, his cup games ended with clean sheets. Mustafi played reasonably well, better than previously but the proviso is, of course, the standard of opposition. None tested Arsenal particularly although Eintracht may dispute that.

Mustafi seeks the positives in those performances and why not? “This is a ray of hope that things are going up again,” he said.

However, Arsenal must move as well as a realistic assessment of his own ambitions. As a club, we know we will not recover much of the €40m transfer fee we paid Valencia. Some, sure, but I’d tip my hat if it were more than half that sum.

His, you’d think, is an easy deal to make. A player who wants to leave and a club keen to sell; what can possibly go wrong? Ask Liam Fox, he knows all about easy deals.

Making Plans for Shkodran

Selling is vital to our plans for next summer. Willy Saliba joins from Saint-Etienne which, along with Holding and Chambers, give us a good core for the first XI. Experience in the shape of Luiz and Sokratis as back-up or even competing for places adds to the depth.

We can’t, however, ignore poor form this season but eight games in, it’s hard to form a judgement on how they will be next season. Beyond being uncertain of their first-team place, that is.

The overhaul of the squad is vital next summer, not just in refreshing the players but also in progression in the Premier League. Finishing in the top four is once again in our hands; whether we take the chance this time is yet to be decided.

Irrespective of that answer, there is a swathe of players heading for the exit. This is the final shakedown of those who craved and received indulgence previously. It’s not dissimilar to the feeling as George Graham shook the cobwebs from Don Howe’s squad and began promoting youth.

Obviously, the question is whether Emery is the coach to do that. Raul and Edu may decide to continue one final season with Unai, to see if a plan can emerge rather than his unshakeable pragmatism of tinkering depending on the opposition.

There is a genuine opportunity to build something at Arsenal in the next 12 months. We don’t have the cash to compete with oil money or marketing. That is no change from the past decade but this time, we seem to have shrewd operators rather than glib chatterboxes to spend the transfer budget.

The youth is ready to be promoted to augment experience so it remains only for quality to be added.

Time will tell whether the current regime is capable of that.

’til Tomorrow.

13 thoughts on “On Mustafi and Building Something New

  1. Adam Singh says:

    Anyone know how saliba is getting on so far this season? I’d completely forgotten we signed him yogi until you reminded me in today post !

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  2. jonnygunner says:

    Adam Singh:
    Anyone know how saliba is getting on so far this season? I’d completely forgotten we signed him yogi until you reminded me in today post !

    Apparently very nicely

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  3. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    William Saliba 2 appearances this season. Played 90 mins against Lyon and kept a clean sheet. They won the game 1-0 at home. Next game he was an 89 minute substitute against Nîmes Olympique, came on and did his hamstring. Been out ever since! Money well spent I’d say!

    As for Mustafi, I’m all for the underdog story. I hope he can play his way back into the first team and becomes world class again. I’ve nothing against the lad and he shouldn’t be treated so harshly on social media. Some people just don’t have any class.

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  4. Las says:

    Good day! Thanks, YW! Though I never thought that you ever will sentence a whole post to Mustafi. 🙂
    I actually remember his early days, like against Chelsea (with Conte in charge). He was tough, quick in the ball, very committed no-nonsense. My friend, who happened to be a Chelsea supporter was very much envious.
    It was really sad to see him such a miserable figure in last season (not to mention the pain seeing Arsenal conceding because of him).
    It was obvious he lost his confidence and instincts and even with the shortage we had in defenders it was strange (should I say pathetic) to see him week-in week-out. It resembles the Xhaka situation now. I thought that a shorter or longer break from the field would have helped him find his feet again. I hope he will.

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  5. Bergkamp says:

    Saliba has played in the last three games for Saint-Etienne (the last two for 90 minutes).

    FL1 29-09-2019 Nimes 0 : 1 Saint-Etienne 1′ 6.23
    UEL 03-10-2019 Saint-Etienne 1 : 1 Wolfsburg 90′ 6.44
    FL1 06-10-2019 Saint-Etienne 1 : 0 Lyon 90′ 6.78

    https://www.whoscored.com/Players/361822/Show/William-Saliba

    He had an operation sometime in early September, I think it was on a groin injury.

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  6. YW says:

    HNDS

    Not sure about your stats. He played against Wolfsburg 90 minutes (1 – 1) and then Lyon (1 – 0). Not sure where Nimes come into it?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  7. Pete the Thirst says:

    Yeah, f@ck Nimes. They gave the world Double Denim!

    YW:
    HNDS

    Not sure about your stats. He played against Wolfsburg 90 minutes (1 – 1) and then Lyon (1 – 0). Not sure where Nimes come into it?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  8. Pete the Thirst says:

    Poor old Mustafi. He just ain’t very good is he. I think he plays better at right back than in the centre where he can cause less chaos.

    Dumb & Dumber deciding to drop all that cash on Valencia for him is another to add to the list:

    Mustafi – £40 million
    Xhaka – £40 million
    Kolasinac – £200k per week
    Ozil – £350k per week
    Play with the handbrake off
    I turned down Messi
    Blah Blah

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  9. Blue Yonder says:

    Mustafi almost certainly suffers from a lack of confidence but he has also demonstrated poor decision-making on way too many occasions.
    That said, his recent outing for Arsenal wasn’t bad.
    I believe many of Arsenal’s horrendous displays can be put down to partnerships. Sokratis’ form was pretty decent until he was paired with Bob so try them with different partners.
    Mustafi’s early displays with Arsenal were quite good so try him with someone else.
    Emery seems determined to stick everyone in one spot, regardless of results, and I think that’s a mistake.

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  10. Adam Singh says:

    Bergkamp:
    Saliba has played in the last three games for Saint-Etienne (the last two for 90 minutes).

    FL129-09-2019Nimes0 : 1 Saint-Etienne1′6.23
    UEL03-10-2019Saint-Etienne 1 : 1 Wolfsburg90′6.44
    FL106-10-2019Saint-Etienne 1 : 0 Lyon90′6.78

    https://www.whoscored.com/Players/361822/Show/William-Saliba

    He had an operation sometime in early September, I think it was on a groin injury.

    Useful link thanks!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  11. Bergkamp says:

    PS This is a great site, by the way. Keep up the good work!

    This, Arseblog and sometimes Untold are the only fan site I read really – the rest are basically trash. I particularly hate the ones that just rehash the things people write on Twatter – just so lazy.
    Sorry, just unloading a bit there.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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