Why buying Mustafi would be a foolish decision for Barcelona
A report by Diario Sport (h/t Mirror) states that Barcelona can look at Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi as an emergency January signing. The Spanish club is desperately looking for defensive cover from January till the end of the season.
If the increasingly unlikely deal with Manchester City for Eric Garcia does not go through, then Ronald Koeman may see the 28-year-old Mustafi as the alternative. (h/t Mirror)
Barcelona only have three centre-backs fighting for a starting position. With a busy fixture list awaiting the Catalan side domestically and in Europe, a defensive signing looks imperative for the defending La Liga champions.
Mustafi’s move to Barcelona would make little sense for Koeman
Shkodran Mustafi is devoid of regular first-team football. The German defender only featured in 15 league games last season. The only season where he made over 30 Premier League appearances, Arsenal finished 5th, conceding more goals than all but one team in the top-nine of the table.
After minor injuries and unconvincing displays, Mustafi has been slowly reduced to a back-up centre-half at Arsenal. The German has only seen 195 minutes of action this entire season. Arteta has preferred a three-man backline with Gabriel, Holding, and Tierney.
The fact that Tierney is a left-back being used at centre-back may be a tactical move by Arteta but it also shows his lack of faith in Mustafi.
Barcelona have been linked with various other names apart from Mustafi. These names include Federico Fazio, Antonio Rudiger, Mateo Musacchio, and German Pezzella. (h/t Daily Mail) Mustafi does not match these names when it comes to constant game time at the top level.
Barcelona have conceded just 10 goals in La Liga and Europe this season. While their attack misfires, their defence not leaking goals will play a major role if they are to win any trophy this term. To ensure that, Koeman must look at experienced centre-backs that can fit right in his team and match the standards of Barcelona’s current backline.
Mustafi’s last appearance in the Champions League came over 3 years ago in March 2017. His last appearance for the German national team was in October 2017, after which he was dropped from the German squad due to poor form.
Signing Shkodran Mustafi would not be a good move by Koeman. The defender does not come with the same reputation and form which made Arsenal splurge £37million on him in 2016. In the 2014/15 La Liga season, the German guided Valencia to a top-four finish with the third-best defensive record in the division.
From there on, Mustafi has slowly declined to become a bench player for Arsenal, while losing his spot in the German national team as well. Moreover, Mustafi’s contract expires in the summer of 2021, which means he will be available for free in July. Paying any money for a defender like Mustafi who would be available for free in the summer will be highly foolish on Koeman’s part.