An Arsenal exit for Shkodran Mustafi could be edging closer after the defender received an approach from German outfit Hertha Berlin.
Mustafi has been unfancied by Mikel Arteta this season, making only nine appearances. Just three of those have come in the Premier League.
And with less than six months left to run on his contract, he is being tipped to leave the Emirates in January.
Somewhat surprisingly, Spanish giants Barcelona were said to be considering an offer for the German after his agent was seen at the Nou Camp last month. However, the Catalan club have since ruled out a move.
Serie A side Genoa were also said to be keen, but Mustafi turned down a switch to Italy.
According to a story on TodoFichajes though, the opportunity to return to his homeland with Hertha is much more tempting to him.
They say the 28-year-old, who left Germany almost 12 years ago, is now ready to return to his country of birth.
In fact, the report claims he has already given Hertha the thumbs up to the transfer. Although, he still needs to convince Arsenal to agree to letting him move on.
Receiving a fee for Mustafi rather than losing him on a free in the summer could be encouragement enough for Arsenal chiefs. His Gunners deal will expire at the end of June and there are no plans to extend it.
That could also provide funds for any incomings in the remainder of the January transfer window.
Arteta keen to keep Mustafi
But one person standing in Mustafi’s way is manager Mikel Arteta, who wants to keep him in his squad.
Despite rarely choosing him, the Spaniard believes Mustafi is needed in North London for the time being.
Speaking earlier this week, Arteta said: “His future right now is here.
“I’m trying to help. We have Papa [Sokratis Papastathopoulos] that probably is going to leave the club in this window. William [Saliba] that has already gone on loan, so we don’t have that many right now.
“Gabriel’s been out now for a period, David [Luiz] has been injured. So the situation is completely different to before.”
Mustafi may be forced to wait to make his Arsenal exit then, but he is now free to make a pre-contractual agreement with a foreign club.