Arsenal’s reported pursuit of Valencia centre back Shkodran Mustafi is becoming something of a saga that only Manchester United have so far endured this summer.
Much has been made of the Gunners’ lack of experience and depth in defence following their home loss to Liverpool on Sunday. Faced with long-term injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel, it has become painfully obvious that Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger must finally dig deep and buy the experience his side needs.
For weeks now Mustafi has been at the centre of nearly every Arsenal-related transfer rumour, with reports ranging from ‘a done deal in 48 hours’ to ‘it looks like sometime this week’. Even today, Wednesday, reputable Sky Sports News journalist Guillem Balague reported a deal as near.
According to the Spanish publisher, while it is assumed a deal is close, as of yet there has been no formal offer tabled by Wenger for the 24-year-old. It is thought that Valencia’s £30 million valuation of the player has given the frugal Arsenal manager cause to hesitate.
Gunners fans will be apoplectic with frustration that a bid still has not yet been made for the Germany international. Defeat to Liverpool already leaves the London club three points adrift of its main title rivals, with a tricky away trip to Premier League champions Leicester scheduled for Saturday.
Whether a deal is close or not, Arsenal are set to be sorely lacking at the back again come the weekend. The fear now is that if and when a deal does actually happen for an experienced defender, it will already be too late for another season.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena