On the 30th of August 2016, Arsenal announced the signing of Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia for a fee of over £35 million.
The German international was a much-needed signing for the Gunners that window, and in typical Arsenal fashion the deal was announced on the penultimate day of the summer transfer window.
The transfer was seen as a positive move for Arsenal with the likes of John Cross praising the transfer and Gooners all across the world delighted with the new defensive acquisition.
Mustafi took to English football like a duck to water, leading Arsenal to a 16 game unbeaten run in all competitions as the German helped take the Gunners to 2nd in the lead table come the start of December.
For the first half of the season the 24-year-old defender was one of the most important players in the Arsenal team, but then a hamstring injury against Stoke City sent the Gunners’ into a downward spiral.
Welcome Mustafi. Legendary announcement.
— Kris (@Santi_Classorla) August 30, 2016
The German Sergio Ramos
— Don Unai (@Arsenal490304) August 30, 2016
best in the world welcome to Arsenal
— Nishant (@nishantafc) August 30, 2016
I think Mustafi has the makings of a top signing for Arsenal. Big statement and big day for the club. Very busy and good day's work.
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) August 30, 2016
— Adam Castle (@Clopper1) August 30, 2016
Tell you what, Mustafi isn't far of being the signing of the summer, very pleased. quality player
— humza (@humza_rafiq) August 30, 2016
With these 2 new signings; Mustafi and Perez, Arsenal can now fight for the 4th position.
— A-O2 (@jlexzis) August 30, 2016
The injury affected not only Mustafi’s performances and confidence but also team morale as the Gunners ended the season in fifth, the first time Arsene Wenger had not finished in a Champions League spot with Arsenal ever.
The 2017/18 season saw recurring thigh and hamstring injuries dampen what was ultimately another disappointing season for Arsenal and Mustafi. A mistake in the EFL Cup final was met with frustration and debate over whether the centre-back should be dropped from the team, however, the German remained a vital first-team player in Wenger’s final season as Arsenal boss.
Mustafi has continued to be one of the most polarising figures in the Arsenal side. His rash decision making has made him a big target for fans on social media and his defensive errors have cost the Gunners points this season, most notably his foul on Harry Kane in the North London Derby.
Whichever way you spin it, Arsenal fans likely expected more from the German, and whilst the above fans thought they had signed the next best thing, the reality is that the signing of Mustafi has proven to be a mixed bag. Based on that, it’s easy to consign Mustafi to the flop pile of Arsenal’s recent signings.