Unai Emery has tried to quell speculation surrounding Mohamed Elneny and Shkodran Mustafi by claiming that the duo should leave the Gunners before the end of the window. Both players have not been included in the matchday squad so far this season.
The summer has witnessed a number of arrivals and departures at the Emirates Stadium. There are certain departures – like that of Laurent Koscielny – which have raised an eyebrow or two, but the anticipated exit of Elneny and Mustafi has been coming for a while. Speaking to Sky Sports, he said:
“We have some players and they know their situation. For example, Elneny and Mustafi, they know their situation in the squad.
“I want the players to be happy here, I want the players to be protagonists here, and last year, for example, with Mustafi and Mo, when they didn’t play, they weren’t happy.
“I think now the best for them is to be protagonists in another team, to sign and to get another challenge for them and continue with another team.”
Elneny had just under 400 minutes of league action last season. He very rarely featured for the club under Emery. The 27-year-old came to Arsenal from FC Basel in 2016. Signed for around £7 million by Arsene Wenger, the Egyptian never really made his mark at the club. He has failed to feature in more than 15 league appearances in any of the four seasons with the club. At 27, his resale value is also at its peak. Arsenal may find it difficult to get a sizeable offer for the player even if he has three years left on his contract.
Mustafi also made the switch to Arsenal in 2016. He appeared to be one of the prized signings for the club after costing £35 million from Valencia. Despite the defender being a regular in his three full seasons with the club, the arrival of David Luiz means that he is no down the pecking order. The manager admits that a player of Mustafi’s stature needs to be on the pitch regularly in order to be picked for the German national team. The Euro 2020 is just around the corner and even if Mustafi has not featured for the national team since 2017, the 27-year-old would not be keen on letting any potential opportunity slip just by staying at the Emirates Stadium.
The transfer window closes only on September 2 for the European clubs. Hence, there is still an opportunity for the two players to seek a club where they would get regular first-team football.
Arsenal are expected to take a hit with regards to Mustafi even if the defender has two years left on his contract. He will be sold for a cut-price deal in order to facilitate the transfer.
Emery was able to bring in Daniel Ceballos, on a loan deal, and David Luiz during the end of the window. The two signings have drastically changed the pictures of Arsenal in a number of ways. Luiz played a prominent role in the recent win over Burnley.
Even though it is still early days in the campaign, Arsenal have made a strong start by winning both league matches. The biggest test for the club will come this weekend when the team takes on Liverpool at Anfield. The memories of the 5-1 thrashing will be fresh in the memories of most Arsenal players who are expected to take part in the game. Mustafi started the game but was replaced at half-time, while Elneny failed to get off the bench. Both players will be spectators this time around.