Soccer

Arsenal flop Shokdran Mustafi becomes unexpected Barcelona transfer target

Arsenal flop Shkodran Mustafi has emerged as a surprise transfer target for Barcelona.

The German has been cast out by Mikel Arteta in north London, making just four appearances for his side this season.

While playing regularly last season, the arrival of Gabriel Magalhaes has seen the 28-year-old drop down in the pecking order.

But Spanish outlet Sport have reported that the Gunners flop has made Barcelona’s transfer shortlist.

Ronald Koeman wants a fourth player to join Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Ronald Araujo at the Nou Camp.

Manchester City youngster Eric Garcia has been top of the list – but the Gunners’ flop has made the alternative list.

Mustafi spent two years with Valencia before moving to north London, with this La Liga experience seen as a bonus.

While the report also suggests that the centre-back will not get a new contract when his current deal expires at the end of the season.

But Arteta is expected to find use for the 28-year-old this season, providing competition to his other defenders for places.

Mustafi has made 146 appearances for the Gunners since arriving in 2016, two years after he won the World Cup with Germany.

It saw him lift the trophy with team-mate Mesut Ozil, who has been cast out from the Premier League or Europa League squads.

But the defender noticed no change in the midfielder’s attitude to training, saying: “I can’t say too much about it. They have been talking a lot about it.

“For me, Mesut is not just a team-mate, he’s a friend. I respect him and he has always respected me and everyone else as far as I have seen.

“He will always have my respect and I will always be there for him if he needs something to motivate and push him.

“But at the moment every time I see him in training he’s doing the best he can. He tries to train well and everything else is not in my hands. I’m not the one who makes the decisions."

Ozil and Mustafi could be joined by fellow ex-German international Jerome Boateng amid his contract situation.

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