Wednesday 23 October 2019

Mustafi wants to “write a positive chapter” if he leaves Arsenal

The centre-back had been expected to leave during the summer transfer window.

Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi has yet to play in the Premier League this season. (Nigel French/PA)
Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi has yet to play in the Premier League this season. (Nigel French/PA)

By Jim van Wijk, PA

Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi feels the next move could be the most important of his career as he looks to “write a positive chapter again”.

Mustafi, who joined from Valencia in August 2016, started both of the Gunners’ Europa League ties, as well as the 5-0 Carabao Cup win over Nottingham Forest.

However, the German centre-back has yet to feature in the Premier League this season, having been expected to leave during the summer transfer window.

In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine, the defender revealed he felt singled out for “irrational” criticism for a number of mistakes last season, notably in the 5-1 defeat by Liverpool.

The 27-year-old, though, remains determined to look ahead.

“There were talks about leaving the club in the summer, but there was no option that suited everyone. Arsenal had some demands too,” Mustafi told Der Spiegel.

“The next move is extremely important for me to be able to write a positive chapter again.

“If I move to the wrong place now then the situation may not improve at all. In the future I am open to offers, from the Bundesliga as well.”

Mustafi wanted to put the record straight on why his performance against Liverpool on December 29 last year had not been up to expected standards.

“I had been out injured for three weeks, but went into the game without a training session because the manager needed me,” the defender said.

“At half-time we were 4-1 down and had made some mistakes and injured myself again.

“After that I received an extreme amount of negative comments from Arsenal fans and articles were written in which I was heavily criticised.

“I am self-critical enough to admit that I have made mistakes and can take criticism, but the criticism escalated and became irrational.

“I became a target and once some people tried to blame me for a defeat when I wasn’t even playing.”

The defender also said he had been left “very angry” by comments from former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit, who had called him ‘the king of blunders’.

Mustafi continued: “It is one thing to be criticised by fans or media, but it is something completely different when it comes from a former player, who knows how difficult it can be on the pitch.

“I would expect such a player to be a bit more sensible and realise what that kind of criticism can lead to.”

He added: “In the past, that might have been one day in the paper and then people would have forgotten it. Today it’s on the internet and will haunt me for the rest of my career.”

Mustafi was not in the squad for Arsenal’s last fixture before the international break, when Unai Emery’s side beat Bournemouth 1-0 to sit third in the Premier League table.

PA Media

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