Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi has slammed his critics, stating he is knocked even when he doesn’t play.
The German has slipped down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium this season, with Unai Emery preferring the likes of Sokratis, new signing David Luiz and Calum Chambers.
Mustafi has had to make do with making appearances in the cup competitions, and to his credit he has done well.
In his three appearances so far, Arsenal have kept as many clean sheets and some fans are pleased to see a slight upturn in form.
Defiant Mustafi has now given his take on what has been said about him, and he isn’t happy.
In an interview with Der Spiegel, he said: “The criticism has become escalated and irrational. I have become a target. At one point, people even blamed me for a defeat in a game I had not played in. There were days when I really doubted myself.”
Mustafi was particularly unhappy with Gunners legend Emmanuel Petit, who branded the 27-year-old the ‘King of Blunders’ after season’s mistake against Tottenham Hotspur.
“That annoyed me a lot,” he said. “It’s the one thing when fans or media criticise you. But it’s a different story when an ex-player who knows how hard it is on the field sometimes says so.
Mustafi, a £35 million signing from Valencia in 2016 (BBC Sport), then admitted that there were options for him to leave in the summer, but said ‘no deal was satisfactory’.
He added: “I am open for a future move, also for the Bundesliga.”
£90,000-a-week Mustafi (Spotrac) has come in for a lot of flack from Arsenal supporters and the tone of his comments suggest the frustration has been building.
Unfortunately a lot of the constructive negativity has been warranted, with Mustafi having regularly cost the club points with his errors.
He has looked much better in 2019/20 so far though, and the defiant defender seems intent on proving people wrong.