The Guardian’s Nick Ames has a report that Arsenal Manager Unai Emery told CB Shkodran Mustafi and CDM Mohamed Elneny it’s time to find “another challenge” before the European transfer window closes September 2.
From the report:
Despite interest in Mustafi from Monaco and in Elneny from Turkish Super Lig sides, no deal has been struck.
“They are very big players but for one circumstance or another they are going to have fewer chances to show their capacity or to be happy with us and the minutes they play in matches,” Emery said. “But they know the situation and really I am wishing the best for them. I think now the best for them is to be protagonists in another team and to get another challenge for themselves.”
Mustafi has played the last three seasons for Arsenal, but his disastrous 2018-19 campaign forced (or didn’t...) Emery to mount a pretty ridiculous public defense of the German.
Elneny arrived the season before Mustafi but saw his role extremely reduced last year with the arrival of Lucas Torreira. The Egyptian featured in just 7 league matches and 15 in all competitions compared to 13 and 26 the season prior, respectively.
Mustafi would make the second central defenseman to leave in this window after Laurent Koscielny went back to Ligue 1 to Bordeaux. Those were offset by the additions of David Luiz and William Saliba, though the latter remains on loan for this season at St. Etienne. The return of Rob Holding who is “now participating in full training with the first team” should help boost the defense as well.
As for central midfield, Emery has tactical decisions ahead beyond Elneny’s potential departure. In the season opener against Newcastle, we went with the pairing of Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi. Last weekend against Burnley, Joe Willock dropped back a bit to support Guendouzi as Xhaka was on the bench. Torreira didn’t feature in the opener, but he was brough on as a sub in the 83rd in the second match. Neither Mustafi nor Elneny were available in either of the first two games.
We’ll have to see how Emery manages the lineup and the bench squad as Arsenal travel to league champion Liverpool, but as of tonight it sounds like Mustafi and Elneny won’t be around much longer if Emery has his way.