Mustafi close to exit
The future of several Arsenal players is up in the air as the January window nears. The Gunners have several players running out of contract at the end of the current season and therefore the winter window opens the opportunity for some to negotiate pre-contract agreements with specific clubs or leave prematurely.
In fact, Arsenal have 3 central defenders all whose contracts expire at the end of the current campaign: Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz and Sokratis.
The former looks the most likely to depart this January and links to Spanish hyper club Barcelona have once again surfaced. However, instead of the typical rumours the German defender’s agent has come out and spoken specifically of talks between him and the Catalan club.
“I’m not in Barcelona because of Yusuf Demir, but because of Shkodran Mustafi from Arsenal, whom we also represent,” said the former German international’s agent.
Barcelona face their own defensive issues with Gerard Pique out for a significant period of time, Samuel Umtiti’s continual injury problems leaving just Clement Lenglet as the only consistently fit senior option.
The Blaugrana do have younger options but Ronald Koeman would like there to be more experience available to him. Mustafi fits this profile having previously played in Spain with Valencia where he was bought from by Arsenal.
Good for Gunners
The deal to take Mustafi to Barcelona should be looked upon as positive news for Arsenal. The Gunners squad is currently too big and has left Sokratis and Mesut Ozil omitted from both the Premier League and Europa League selections.
With significant wages being paid to players who are not playing, Mustafi being one of them regarding league football, it is very beneficial for the club to remove as many of these players during the winter window as possible.
Whilst the club will benefit from these players leaving in the summer saving plenty of money on wages, a premature departure would help The Gunners even further and could see extra business done in the winter window with funds made available sooner than expected.
Arguably, should no club come in for either of Ozil or Sokratis in January, Arsenal could look to buy out their contracts and remove the players from the club, limiting the amount of negativity from within the players camp.