Gunners not closer to Shkodran Mustafi deal

Football/Transfer news

Arsene Wenger will not be rushed into any panic buys despite Arsenal getting their Premier League season off to a disastrous start on Sunday, in which their inadequate transfer business was exposed by a Liverpool side that needed just 45 minutes to work out how to crack Wenger’s makeshift defence.

20-year-old defender Rob Holding was required to start his first match since completing a £2.5m summer move from Bolton Wanderers alongside Calum Chambers, the former Southampton defender who has yet to tie down a regular place in the starting line-up and has not convinced anyone of his best position, having been deployed at right-back, defensive midfield and centre-back in recent months.

With Arsenal retaining an interest in Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi, calls grew louder and louder as fans left the Emirates Stadium – some as early as the 63rd minute – on Wenger to spend more money in the transfer window to cover the absences of Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista in defence and Danny Welbeck in attack.
Yet it is understood that Valencia are not in talks with any club to sell Mustafi, despite reports emerging in the aftermath of Sunday’s 4-3 defeat that personal terms had been agreed with the Germany international.

Holding and Chambers weren’t solely accountable for the three goals conceded in 18 minutes after half-time that took the game beyond Arsenal’s reach, with the former impressing on his debut while the latter struggled to prove he has a future in Arsenal’s central defence.

Yet stand-in captain, Petr Cech, believed that the pair will have learnt from the experience and, despite conceding four goals, felt they did as well as they could given the circumstances.

 “I thought they did really well,” Cech, who will deputise as captain while Mertesacker remains absent, told Arsenal’s website. “When you concede four goals then obviously you cannot be happy as a team because you should not concede four goals at home, but I thought it was a really good experience for them.”

While it was obvious a shell-shocked Arsenal were not able to recover from the four-goal 20-minute demolition job Liverpool dished out, Cech believes that it was Philiippe Coutinho’s opening free-kick – a stunning effort from 30 yards out from goal that left the Arsenal goalkeeper with no hope of saving the ball – that did the psychological damage to the home side, a factor echoed by Wenger in his short post-match press conference on Sunday.

“I thought for the first 45 minutes we were excellent,” Cech said. “We played well, we got a goal, we had opportunities and we missed a penalty, but the reaction was great because we scored two minutes later. It was a perfect start for us.

“The moment shifted when they got an equaliser in the last minute of the first half. I thought if we concentrated and continued to play well we were going to win the game but, within a 15-minute spell, they scored three and decided the game.

 “We started much slower in the second half. Once they got to 2-1 up, the game changed because they could wait to counter-attack and this is where they damaged us.

“We had a great reaction to come back into the game at 4-3, but we didn’t have enough time to equalise.”
Credit: Independent

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