Shkodran Mustafi has hit out at reports that he will be leaving Arsenal in the summer, with the Gunners reportedly interested in a number of potential replacements.
The German international arrived in north London in 2016 with a hefty price tag and high expectations amongst the Arsenal faithful, who have witnessed their once famed defence gradually decline over the last few years.
Unfortunately, Mustafi's time with the Gunners has not been what he or the club would have hoped for. The World Cup winner has struggled for consistency throughout his Arsenal career; frequently making costly errors, and bearing the brunt of the fans' dissatisfaction with their team's poor defensive displays.
However, despite the fan unrest, and reports of manager Unai Emery lining up a new centre-back, Mustafi seemingly has no intention of leaving borth London this summer, with German Publication Kicker quoting him as saying: "It is odd that there are always transfer speculations. I am an Arsenal player and have a contract until 2021."
Whilst the German international seems happy to stay at Arsenal, his manager is decidedly less so, with football.london reporting that Emery has his eye on a number of players who he sees as replacements for an outgoing Mustafi.
At the top of the Spaniard's wish list are Roma's Kostas Manolas, Saint-Etienne's William Saliba, and Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti - the latter of which was also a World Cup winner with France last summer.
Having seen Mustafi's performances over the past three seasons, Arsenal fans will be weary of assuming that Umtiti is a top-class defender based purely on his acquisition of a World Cup winner's medal.
However, whereas Mustafi rarely featured during Germany's successful campaign, the Barcelona man was ever present in Russia; starting in both the semi-final and final, and forming a powerful partnership with Raphael Varane throughout.
All of the CB's we've been linked to have been encouraging in their own way. Hoping we get two in and shift Chambers, Mustafi and let Koscielny go (not because he's bad but because he surely can't keep going for much longer, and wanted to return to Lorient).— Tom (@Tomthegunner) May 23, 2019
If Arsenal were to sell Mustafi in order to make way for a new signing, it seems they already have a potential suitor in the form of AC Milan. The Italian giants have reportedly shown interest in reuniting the German international with former Arsenal Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis.
Whether or not the German international does depart this summer, if Arsenal were to sign a new defender, Mustafi would expect to no longer be a regular starter next season.