Shkodran Mustafi was snapped by Arsenal on 30 August 2016 for reported £35 million. This deal was regarded as one of the best deal of the summer, as in Mustafi – Arsenal signed one of the best defender of Germany.
Arsenal supporters were gone crazy with the signing of Mustafi after being linked with him throughout the summer.
This was not his first time in England, Shkodran Mustafi came up through the ranks of Everton. In 2009 Mustafi was inked to the youth academy of Everton after rejecting offers from Manchester City and Newcastle United.
Mustafi was highly in love with Everton, he not only rejected big offers from big clubs but also was quoted saying, “I think I was made for the English League, will fight as long as I have to and give everything I have eventually until I play in the top flight.”
Despite being highly motivated at Goodison Park he failed to make his mark at The Merseyside. Mustafi made only one competitive appearance for Everton coming on as a substitute on 16 December 2009 against BATE Borisov in UEFA Europa League. Mustafi had not made his Premier League debut until he signed for Arsenal.
With no regular game time coming under his belt Mustafi was released by Everton in January 2012 when he moved to Italian club Sampdoria on a free transfer.
From here starts the building of “Shkodran Mustafi” we know.
Sampdoria were still playing in Serie B, but just the next season they were back into the top division in Italian football. Mustafi made only one appearance in his debut season at Sampdoria.
Mustafi made his Serie A debut on 11 November 2012 at Palmero. Yet Mustafi had a lot to learn and a lot to make himself what he is now.
With third season at Sampdoria, now Mustafi was the first choice centre-back and had certainly developed himself to be standing as a wall in the defence. In his final season he made 35 appearances establishing himself one of the upcoming centre back’s around the globe.
With coming up on the ranks at Sampdoria, club’s from Spain had eyes on him. In August Spanish giants Valencia signed Mustafi on a Five-Year deal. He was the first choice centre back since his arrival and made his mark in La Liga with a boom.
He was called up for World Cup 2014 by German National Side and top of that Germany were the champions at the commencement of the tournament. Mustafi was now respected around the globe and his second season at Valencia was a cherry on the cake for himself to prove that he is one of the best defender.
Now, Mustafi is a World Cup winner with a bold name. In his second season in Valencia you could see he has matured, grown and has aspects of a perfect defender.
Arsenal were looking for someone to strengthen their back line, someone vocal who will give everything that he possesses in the game. And that is when Arsene Wenger & Co. decided to sign “Shkodran Mustafi”.
Being the most expensive defender Arsenal have ever signed, the expectations were sky high coming into the team. Mustafi has kept pace with his likelihood around the clock.
What makes him dangerous?
He is a critter going forward, his eye for a pass ante proves beyond the ground for opponents. And Mustafi is a rampart in the defence, who can give a whirl to the strikers.
Mustafi likes to cross the ball, but that is one of the liability he possesses. He is good at interceptions averaging about 2 interceptions per game last season. Another of his asset is, he don’t let the ball walk the tracks around the defence. With about Five clearances per game – that sounds superb.
Mustafi is not good at blocking the balls, but his aerial abilities should make the opponents think twice before crossing the ball and wasting the opportunity.
Comparison with Laurent Koscielny:
Koscielny is regarded as one of the best defenders in the Premier League. And all the fans were looking for the deadly partnership of Mustafi and Koscielny. If we see both of them individually there ain’t big difference on how they performed. Both the defenders are spit and image of one another. Mustafi excelled at tackling whereas Koscielny was good in clearances. They both were about parallel in Interceptions.
Basing on the comparison with his colleague, we can rate Mustafi’s performance at “Excellent” in his first season with the North-Londoners. Lolo is good at blocks, but if we see both of them coupled at the heart of defence -We can see a perfect duo excelling at one or another of statistics and standing there like a ‘Wall’ in front of Petr Cech.
Rather than comparing both of them, we should enjoy this pair working together getting ”best” of each other.
Comparison with Virgil Van Dijk:
Arsenal are highly linked to bringing Southampton skipper to strengthen their defence. Van Dijk was closing in on a summer move to Arsenal, as many expected Arsenal to cash in on Mustafi. Then, Who is better amongst the two?
Van Dijk seems to have a good blocks and clearances, whereas both seems to be eye-on-eye on Interceptions and tackles. We cannot ignore the fact that Van Dijk is being carrying The Saints on his shoulders from atleast past couple of years. Since the departure of Jose Fonte, the Dutch International has had it all on himself to push Southampton ahead and make sure they don’t concede.
Mustafi has only had the taste of playing in English top division for one season now, and for a beginner these stats in best League around the globe ain’t really bad. We can expect Shkodran Mustafi to develop himself into a ‘top’ professional and wear that ‘arm band’ around his biceps.
Shkodran Mustafi is one of the ‘key’ to Arsenal’s defence and considering his young age he can be someone who can take up the lead for the future. With Rob Holding coming up the ranks we can expect a deadly partnership between Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding in the future.