Sky Sports pundit and former Arsenal player Charlie Nicholas has suggested that one of the players that Arsene Wenger signed in his final years at the club has simply ‘not been good enough’.
The Frenchman departed Arsenal in spring 2018 and less than two years before that exit, Arsene Wenger secured the signing of Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia in what appeared to be a shrewd deal at the time.
A string of inconsistent performances in the past three years at the club have seen Mustafi become of the much-maligned players in the Arsenal squad.
Thus, Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas has questioned the signing of the German defender who was brought in for a relatively expensive fee by Wenger.
“We’ve had a problem at the top level for a long time. And dare I say it even goes back as far as David Dein [who left in 2008] not being present any more.” he said, as quoted by the Mirror
“We have a problem with identifying players. Then what we did is we started paying £30 million, £40m for Mustafi and defenders who in all honesty, no disrespect to them it’s only my opinion, are not cut out for Arsenal and have not been good enough.
“So they’ve been buying wrong. The players then realise they are not a threat to win the Premier League or we’re out of the Champions League.
“So the hierarchy have got it all wrong.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
The fact of the matter is that Arsene Wenger, whilst being good at picking out some of the brightest attacking prospects, was not as equally skilled at spotting the best defensive players.
Apart from Laurent Koscielny and perhaps Per Mertesacker, there was hardly a defender signed by Wenger in his final years who could be considered to be ‘very good’ or close to world-class.
Shkodran Mustafi, in particular, is by no means a completely useless player. He has his solid moments and indeed, ever since Mikel Arteta took over, his displays – apart from that error at Chelsea – have improved. But the fact that his future at the club has remained uncertain nearly every summer since he joined Arsenal, is enough to prove that this is not the level he is cut out for.
Perhaps Mustafi could be a useful back-up option to have, if and only if, a truly world-class or above-average defender is recruited.