Shkodran Mustafi has been shockingly identified as one of the defensive targets for Barcelona as they look to shore up their centre-back options in January.
According to Sport, FC Barcelona are desperate to sign an additional centre-back in the upcoming January transfer window, with Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi being identified as one of the potential targets.
The Spanish giants have mainly set their sights on Manchester City ace Eric Garcia, having been linked with a move for the ex-La Masia starlet since the summer window. But, in case they fail to secure his services, Barcelona have come up with a long list of alternatives who are mainly international defenders rather than young promising individuals.
Mustafi, having previously played in La Liga with Valencia, has been included in that list. He is also joined by compatriot Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea, although both the players have found it difficult to become a first-team fixture for their respective clubs this season.
Mustafi, in particular, has been unfortunate with an injury during the back end of last season. His continued absence allowed Rob Holding to move up the ranks while the summer arrival of Gabriel Magalhaes and his subsequent brilliant start to the campaign has mostly kept the German international away from first-team action.
In addition, Mikel Arteta seems to have finally shifted into a back four or at least a pendulating back four, where Kieran Tierney is a guaranteed starter due to his ability to interchange positions on the left side of the defence. Mustafi, as a result, has mustered only 44 minutes of league action.
For Barcelona, however, the addition of the Arsenal defender could serve as a real boon given the lack of depth in their defensive unit. With Samuel Umtiti once again suffering from fitness problems, the Blaugrana have mainly relied on the services of Clement Lenglet and the ageing Gerard Pique while Ronald Araujo has served as a backup.
It does not bode well for a side that is expected to compete for the Champions League as well as the La Liga title this campaign. Although Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman would ideally prefer someone like Garcia in January, Mustafi is not a bad option at all.
The 28-year-old has a lot of pedigree at the highest level of football, with over 100 appearances in the Premier League with Arsenal while winning 20 caps for the German national team. He has also improved a lot under Arteta – making him a viable short-term option for Barcelona.