Guillem Balague has revealed his opinion that Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi ‘isn’t good enough’ for Arsenal amid talk of a transfer this month.
The German international has been linked with a move to the Emirates with the Gunners currently suffering with an injury crisis.
Arsene Wenger has lost both Per Mertesacker and Gabriel to long-term injuries, while Laurent Koscielny will be ‘rushed’ back into action this weekend against Leicester City after missing out on the opening game of the season due to his extended summer with Euro 2016.
With just Rob Holding and Calum Chambers as his other options, Wenger desperately needs to address the issue, and after watching Mustafi at close quarters, Balague isn’t convinced that the 24-year-old is the right man for the job.
“Valencia as a club need to sell,” he began telling Sky Sports. “The Valencia coaching staff want to keep Mustafi. Arsenal are not paying what Valencia want which is near €40m. Valencia are also saying they do not want to sell a key player in the last week of the transfer window. Arsenal say they do not want to pay ahead of his real value. So that is where we are.
“By the way, I do not think Mustafi is good enough for Arsenal but there are not many good centre-backs available in the market right now. He would be a slight improvement on their current centre-backs but he is not worth the fee suggested.”
It’s a difficult balancing act that Wenger has to work with this month, as time is quickly running out for him to strengthen his squad and put them in a position to compete for the Premier League title.
As he continues to come under relentless pressure from supporters and media alike over his lack of transfer activity, he knows that he must spend in order to avoid the situation becoming more hostile.
However, he also knows that he needs to spend wisely and not panic, but based on Balague’s assessment, he’d be paying well over the odds for a player that isn’t good enough to warrant that fee.
It remains to be seen if Mustafi secures a move to north London and for how much, but perhaps Wenger would be better off targeting another individual that can do the same job but won’t cost as much.