Arsenal have been dealt a huge blow in their pursuit of the Germany defender, with Valencia manager Pako Ayestaran declaring that he will stay at the club this season.
The Valenica defender has long been linked with a move to the Emirates, with the Gunners reportedly entering into negotiations with Los Che almost a month ago. However, it looks like they will not be landing Mustafi this summer as Valencia manager Pako Ayestaran has insisted that the centre-back is definitely not for sale.
“Mustafi is not for sale and will not be leaving the club,” Ayestaran told reporters after his team lost their opening La Liga tie against Las Palmas, according to Goal. “The president (Chan Lay Hoon) has said in public that (Paco) Alcácer and Mustafi are not for sale and I have to believe her.”
There has been a lot of speculation surrounding Mustafi’s future at Valencia in recent weeks, and the fact that he did not feature in the starting lineup for their opening game added further fuel to the rumours that he was leaving for Arsenal.
Arsenal and Arsene Wenger had identified a central defender as being top priority this summer, with their newly appointed captain and defensive mainstay Per Mertesacker ruled out until Christmas with a knee injury. The club have signed 20-year-old centre-back Rob Holding from Bolton, but 24-year-old Shkodran Mustafi has been their top transfer target.
The negotiations for Mustafi have been prolonged, frustrating and ultimately unfruitful. The Gunners initially went in with a bid of £15.4 million. This was promptly rejected by Valencia, who were holding out for a fee of at least £25 million. Arsenal then raised their offer to £20 million in a bid to push Valencia to accept a lower fee.
However, it now looks like they would have been better served by meeting Valencia’s initial asking price when negotiations first began. The La Liga club are now worried that they do not have enough time to find a replacement, and have asked Arsenal to cough up a whopping £50 million to sign the player.
Mustafi has a release clause believed to be worth around £42 million. But even that is an amount Arsenal are unlikely be willing to spend on a player for whom they offered half that amount just a week ago. The recent statements from the Valencia manger almost conclusively means that the deal is off.