Arsenal have been dealt a major blow in their pursuit of Valencia center-back Shkodran Mustafi, after manager Pako Ayestaran confirmed that the German would not be leaving the club.
Arsenal are in desperate need of a central defender, as injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista have left them with only one first choice center-back in Laurent Koscielny. As a result, right-back Calum Chambers has been forced to play at the center of the Gunners’ defence.
The club has been looking out for good central defenders, and earmarked Jonny Evans and Shkodran Mustafi as perfect candidates to fill the gaping hole at the back.
However, having been put off by West Brom’s asking price for Evans, a similar scenario is in danger of occurring in the Mustafi deal. The 24-year old has a buy-out clause of £43.1 million, and this, knowing Wenger’s unwillingness to spend, could potentially scupper the deal.
“Mustafi is not for sale and will not be leaving the club,” Valencia manager Ayestaran said following his side’s 4-2 defeat against Las Palmas.
Sky Sports’ Spanish football expert Guillem Balague said he believes that the only way the deal could go through is if Arsenal meet the German’s massive buy-out clause.
“The coaching staff at Valencia think Mustafi will not go, and this is the same message being made by Valencia,” he said.
“They insist the only way Mustafi will be allowed to leave is if Arsenal trigger his €50m (£43.1m) buy-out clause, which I think everybody will agree is too much money for him.”
Ayestaran has also stated that Paco Alcacer is not for sale. The forward has been constantly linked to a switch to Barcelona by the Spanish press.
He added: “The president has said in public that Alcacer and Mustafi are not for sale and I have to believe her.”