Arsenal Opinion: Two Shkodran Mustafi replacements Arsenal must consider
According to Tuttosport, AC Milan are considering Arsenal star Shkodran Mustafi to replace Cristian Zapata, whose contract expires next month. (h/t Calciomercato)
AC Milan manager Genaro Gattuso looks set to lose experienced defender Cristian Zapata at the end of the season.
The Colombian defender is not expected to get an extension from AC Milan and as he is on his way out, Milan will be left with just three centre-backs – club captain Alessio Romagnoli, Mateo Musacchio and Mattia Caldara.
The Italian giants want to bolster their defensive ranks with the addition of Shkodran Mustafi, who has struggled to convince the Arsenal supporters since his switch from Valencia in 2016.
The Germany international, 27, has frustrated the fans and manager Unai Emery with his lack of consistency and error-strewn displays in the Gunners’ backline.
Mustafi’s string of poor performances this season have seen his stock drop down drastically; nevertheless, Emery should sell him to raise funds to reinvest in defence as well as other areas of the squad.
That being said, here are two replacements for Mustafi Arsenal should consider this summer.
1. Mario Hermoso (Espanyol)
Unai Emery is facing a crucial summer at the Emirates, having been handed a modest transfer budget. That makes it crucial for Arsenal to beat Chelsea in the Europa League final to boost Emery’s transfer budget.
The addition of a centre-back has to be at the top of the Spaniard’s priority list after a horror show in the 2018/19 campaign. And to strengthen the Gunners’ backline, Emery would do a good job by signing Espanyol star Mario Hermoso.
Hermoso, 23, started his career at Real Madrid but has made his name at Espanyol since arriving at Catalonia in 2017. He has established himself as one the best defenders in the La Liga with his consistent displays this season.
A classy, ball-playing centre-back, the Spaniard’s ability to distribute the ball accurately from defence will certainly appeal Emery. He is strong and powerful in the tackle, whilst possessing a good turn of pace through the ground.
Hermoso has all the qualities needed to thrive in the Premier League. Hence, Emery should splash the cash to sign the Spanish defender, who apparently is on the radar of the Gunners, as per Diario AS.
2. Djene Dakonam (Getafe)
It’s no secret that Arsenal’s defense has struggled for the past four or five seasons. First under Arsene Wenger and now Unai Emery, the backline has lacked a true leader, irrespective of the presence of Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
To compete for the title next season, shoring up the defense is a must and Emery will be wise to go for Getafe’s Djene Dakonam.
Dakonam has continued his remarkable rise to prominence with another superb campaign for Getafe. They had the third-joint best defensive record across La Liga, conceding fewer goals than Real Madrid, and the Togolese defender had played a key role in it.
A no-nonsense defender, the 27-year-old is quite solid at the back and is excellent at tackling. Dakonam offers versatility as he can play as a right back if needed.
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The Gunners need a player like Dakonam, who can simply be an upgrade over Mustafi. Just like Hermoso, even Dakonam has caught the attention of Arsenal.