Back in the last knockings of the summer transfer window of 2016, Arsenal secured the services of defender Shkodran Mustafi for a fee believed to be more than £35 million.
The centre back had been playing his football at Spanish side Valencia in the years prior to his big money move to the Emirates Stadium, as former manager Arsene Wenger sought to improve his defensive ranks ahead of what many fans had hoped would be a shot at the Premier League title.
And several of those supporters took to Twitter in the aftermath of Mustafi’s announcement to gush over their new addition…
We’re gonna do the quadruple!!!!
— LP (@lewispeters14) August 30, 2016
— Bikila Shuna (@Bikila88) August 30, 2016
best in the world welcome to Arsenal
— Nishant (@nishantafc) August 30, 2016
— MICHAEL (@Ikoro85) August 30, 2016
i feel happy, i feel grateful, i feel fulfilled.
— MoreDayMore$™ (@sawDiq) August 30, 2016
a World Cup winning centre back, a top quality defensive midfielder and a pacey forward. Praise be!
— ian mcc (@ianbrianmcc) August 30, 2016
— Alex Robertson (@rbrlxa) August 30, 2016
Welcome to Arsenal Mustafi!!! Absolutely elated with this signing#GunnerShkodran
— Aaron Newport (@aaron_5555) August 30, 2016
Welcome @Aubameyang7 I really do hope your addition to our team helps to turn our fortunes back for good… We really miss the great times
— Wanogho Mamiyere M. (@MamusWanogho) January 31, 2018
And while Wenger pulled off quite the coup in luring him to Arsenal, the Germany international hasn’t exactly shone throughout his two-year stint at the North London giants, although it does appear as though the 26-year-old is slowly but surely improving under the guidance of new manager Unai Emery.
Ultimately, Mustafi was brought into a Gunners side that finished second behind Leicester City in the 2015/16 Premier League campaign, with Wenger likely hoping that the German star would add further strength to a backline that shipped just 36 goals that season, just one more than joint-lowest conceders Leicester and Manchester United.
And while the defender made a solid start to life in English football in remaining unbeaten in his first 22 matches in an Arsenal shirt, the 26-year-old was soon found out by Premier League forwards and thus given a testing time in the second half of that season.
Injuries did restrict him to just 26 Premier League appearances in his first campaign at the Emirates Stadium and he only managed one more last season with injuries again littering his campaign, but on the whole Mustafi hadn’t shown to be up to the task of giving Arsenal the centre back they have been crying out for in his first few years at the club.
However, the Germany international appears to be one player who has benefited greatly from the change of management at the Emirates Stadium during the summer, with the man himself even hinting back in August that former boss Wenger didn’t offer him much help in terms of improving his performances.
Yet it’s clear from the early phase of this season that new boss Emery is doing just that as Mustafi has been much-improved in the main so far this term, starting all 11 of their league games so far, and thus playing a key part in their impressive 14-match unbeaten run.
Yes, the German star is still prone to the odd mistake, and wasn’t always convincing in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool at the weekend, but on the whole he does appear as though he is finally getting to grips with the English game – Emery can take great credit for that.
So while those Arsenal fans gushing over his arrival haven’t necessarily been proven right just yet, the Germany international is certainly heading in the right direction under the stewardship of new manager Emery.
Arsenal fans… what do you think? Let us know!