Arsenal are prepared to part ways with defender Shkodran Mustafi this summer following an average first season at the club.
The Germany international joined the Gunners from Valencia for £35m last summer, and many expected him to settle alongside Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the defence.
The 24-year-old made a good start to his Gunners’ career with no defeats in his first 22 games, but things therein became worse for the former Evertonian as he found himself at fault in gruelling losses against the likes of Watford and West Bromwich Albion. Mustafi had his first piece of first-team action this term in the 1-0 away defeat to Stoke City, and The Sun suggests that this may be his last appearance in his Gunners career.
Arsene Wenger’s side have already turned down a loan approach from Inter Milan for the German’s signature but it is said that they would be willing to do business, if they manage to recoup the entire £35m paid to Los Che a year ago.
Mustafi looked vulnerable during the course of the Stoke game last weekend, while his forward play lacked direction amid the frustration of the club’s faithful. Arsenal recently permitted the sale of Gabriel to Mustafi’s ex-club Valencia, and the German’s exit would come as a sort of a surprise, unless Wenger has already identified a suitable replacement.
The Gunners are likely to have Laurent Koscielny back following his suspension but the backline still looks fragile with both Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac not regarded as natural centre-backs. Per Mertesacker has shown a glimpse of his presence in the 3-4-2-1 setup, but his lack of mobility often hinders his selection in the starting lineup. Both Rob Holding and Calum Chambers are regarded as long-term prospects for the central defensive role but there is always a sense of nervousness when they are on the playing field.