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The wait is over! Arsenal got their new centre back and he is German. What better reason could there be to be back on GunnersTown as to have a look at our new man in the centre of our defence.
Shkodran Mustafi heads to the Emirates from Spanish side Valencia after playing two seasons for the Premiera division team. Mustafi joined Valencia straight after the World Cup in 2014 in which he played a vital part in Jaochim Löws title winning side. With only 24 years of age he’s not only a World Cup winner but has England experience as well. He played for Everton’s U23 team in 2012 before he made the step to Italy where he played for Sampdoria.
Besides his football CV is the most important thing for every Gunner probably are his strengths so why not get straight into it. Nearly every sports journalist is praising Arsenal’s Mustafi deal and rightly so. With injuries in the centre back section Mustafi will partner Koscielny straight away. A partnership made in heaven? I think so! Mustafi’s basic strength is that he reads a match so well enabling him intercept efficiently with a quick approach and full body strength. He watched a situation develop and times his incisive step forward to intercept the opponent’s final pass. Different to most central defenders he’s not looking to get rid of the recovered ball ASAP but wants to check for the best passing option first. He’s a quick player who can recover rapidly in counter attacking situations which helps his style of play a lot.
In addition he is a good passer and his ability to play a good first pass from defence into midfield or even a long pass straight to the attackers gives every manager the possibility to play a higher defensive line. An opponent’s passive approach, sitting back seems a perfect scenario for his abilities; a situation Arsenal face very often during a season especially at the Emirates. Going forward we will become more dangerous at corners or free kicks as well. Mustafi scored the first Goal for Germany this summer in France and it was out of a standard. At 1.84m in height he is good in the air at both ends of the field.
Clearly we need Mustafi to fill our gap next to Koscielny as a centre back. But as we have seen at the Euros in France this summer Mustafi can also play as a left or right back if needed or as a defensive midfielder in case of a another injury crisis at Arsenal. So is he worth 35 Mill Pounds? He’s a World Cup winner and experienced and young centre backs are hard to find. Compared to what we paid for Özil or Alexis it’s a huge amount but as we all know the transfer market has become crazy. What’s important is the fact that the player preferred a move to Arsenal and is an easy going guy. He gets along with new team mates and surroundings immediately; at least that’s what is reported from within the German national team. In the end he may have been a bit cheaper had we acted earlier this summer. But that’s another topic which could be discussed for hours.
Welcome to Arsenal Shkodran Mustafi