As things stand, it is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine Shkodran Mustafi’s Arsenal career extending into next season.
Football London reported in October that the German has told the club that he plans to leave when his contract expires in the summer.
The landscape does not appear to have changed significantly since then. But there seems to be a chance that Mustafi could in fact leave before the end of the season.
Spanish outlet Sport reported earlier this month that he is wanted by both Valencia and Barcelona in January.
The links may have come as a surprise to Arsenal fans. Mustafi has struggled to silence his critics during his time at the Emirates. So it will be incredibly tough for some to picture him lining up in Barca’s backline during the second-half of the season.
However, perhaps there is now reason to believe that the £90,000-a-week defender’s exit has potentially become more likely (Wages reported by Spotrac).
Ronald Koeman’s men look set to be without Gerard Pique for the foreseeable future. The centre-back sustained a knee injury in their weekend defeat.
Pique out for three to five months
And according to Marca, the problem is worse than initially feared. It is claimed that he could miss up to five months.
The worse case scenario would rule the 33-year-old out of the majority of the remaining months of the season. So signing a defender in January has arguably become even more important for Barca.
It is not clear how big a priority Mustafi may have been. But he will surely represent a lower-cost option given his contract situation.
If Arsenal are resigned to losing the 28-year-old by the start of next season, they should perhaps consider a January sale to ensure that they recoup some sort of fee.
It remains to be seen if a deal can be agreed. But surely Barcelona bidding for Mustafi in January has indeed become more likely.