New Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi says Mesut Ozil played a key role in convincing him to move to the Gunners during the summer transfer window. The 24-year-old moved to The Emirates Stadium on the deadline day following protracted negotiations over his move from Valencia as Arsene Wenger reinforced his back-line.
A pre-season knee injury to captain Per Mertesacker and then Brazilian Gabriel left Wenger short of options at the start of the campaign – with defender Laurent Koscielny having initially been unavailable after his late return from the European Championships. The Germany international could make his debut against Southampton on Saturday [10 September].
Mustafi has bolstered the defence after completing a £35m move, according to The Guardian, and signing a long-term contract but he was convinced a move to Arsenal would be advisable some weeks before he became subject of interest from the club. Talks with international colleague Ozil during the European Championships saw him sold life in the Premier League, before eventually sealing his move to England.
"We were at the European Championship and we had time to speak," Mustafi told Arsenal Player. "He told me about the club, about the team, and the things that he told me made me come here. I noticed that it's a club where I can develop, where I can grow as a player. He said that he's happy here, that the people are crazy for football and that it's a team that enjoys playing football the way that he does, the way that I do."
The reasons behind Mustafi's move to Arsenal are not the first time international persuasion and proved influential in the transfer window, with Hugo Lloris having convinced Moussa Sissoko to swap Newcastle United for Tottenham Hotspur on deadline day. Though managers are prohibited from approaching targets directly without prior permission, there is nothing stopping players from discussing the pros and cons behind potential moves.
Though Mustafi and Ozil were part of the Germany squad which won the World Cup in 2014, they were unable to replicate that success at Euro 2016 as they were dumped out by the hosts France at the semi-final stage.