The foreseeable future of Shkodran Mustafi lies at Arsenal, manager Mikel Arteta said, with the Gunners boss not intending to unload the foreign Germany in the January window amid a lack of playtime.
Mustafi has made three appearances this season in just 43 minutes of Premier League action, but he has completed three full Europa League matches as he prepares for free agency in the summer.
However, amid the uncertain contract situation of the 28-year-old, Arteta maintains that the center-back is still in the process of starting for the club, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos set to pass on this month and William Saliba being sent out on loan.
“His future is here right now,” said the Arsenal boss. “Attempting to help. We’ve got Papa who’s probably going to leave the club this window, we’ve got William who’s already borrowed. But right now, we haven’t got too many.
“For a time, Gabriel [Magalhaes] was out, David [Luiz] was wounded, so the situation is completely different from before.”
“Arteta added: “Well, Musti came back from a very tough injury when he was hospitalized at the end of last season, detailing why Mustafi played so sparingly in the 2020-21 season.
“He was doing very well after that time. I think his results have been rising and improving.
And now it’s about, well, when are you going to take the next step towards being the starter? And the fact is that, for various reasons, we have to adjust that, using different workers.
“In a few games, he’s been really similar. But we’ve also found a partnership now (Rob Keeping and Pablo Mari) which gives us clean sheets, and sometimes it’s hard to adjust when you do that. Yet he appears to be in contention.
On Thursday evening, Arsenal returned to Premier League action with a home date against Crystal Palace.