Arteta worried about Mustafi fitness as he clears up transfer approach

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has insisted that Shkodran Mustafi’s ankle injury will not force a change to his plans for the remainder of the transfer window.

Mustafi had to be carried off on a stretcher 62 minutes into the FA Cup fourth-round win over Bournemouth on Monday, with Rob Holding coming on in his place.

Arsenal, whose defence has been shaky throughout the campaign so far, have been linked with making a defensive addition this month.

Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng and – more recently, Flamengo’s Pablo Mari – are both said to be on the Gunners’ radar.

Asked if Mustafi’s situation could now alter Arsenal’s January transfer plans, Arteta said: “We have a very clear intention of what we wanted to do in the market with the resources we have.

“If we can do it that’s fine but his fitness won’t change that.”

On the injury, the Spaniard continued: “We’ll be assessing him between today and tomorrow but when a central defender has to come off, hopefully I’m wrong, but normally it’s not good news.”

Mustafi’s injury came after goals from Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah inside 30 minutes put Arsenal in full control at the Vitality Stadium.



The Gunners were unable to add to their advantage and conceded in stoppage-time, with Arteta admitting that he was frustrated at his side’s sloppiness in front of goal.

Meanwhile, Nketiah – who was making his first Arsenal start in over a year – expressed his delight at making his return for the club following his loan spell at Leeds United earlier this season.

Nketiah said: “Yeah it’s nice to be back. I had a great experience out at Leeds, I learnt a lot.

“The boss was really happy with me in what he saw. Obviously you want to play for Arsenal it’s my dream to play for Arsenal, so I’m grateful for this opportunity.

“I’m just happy to be back and get back out there.”

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