ESPN football analyst Shaka Hislop recently announced his ‘Hit or Miss’ from the Premier League summer transfers and heaped the praise on Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi.
The German international joined the North london side from Valencia for a fee of £35 million in August and so far has comfortably filled Per Mertesacker’s void who has been side-lined due to injury.
There were initial doubts that Koscielny and Mustafi would struggle to recreate the strong partnership the Frenchman had with Mertesacker, but the transition and understanding between the two has evolved quickly.
Mustafi has started six games for the Gunners in all competitions so far, and has made himself a solid presence at the back for Arsene Wenger.
Hislop believes his impressive start justifies the money spent on bringing the star to the Emirates and Wenger has done a fine job in signing the defender who was courted by several other clubs over the summer.
“I think he’s done well, alongside Koscielny, who for me is one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League,” Hislop told ESPN.
“But now he has a steady partner, one he can rely on, and it’s a good partnership for Arsenal.”
Arsenal legend Martin Keown also recently expressed his opinion on the German and although he admits it is too early to comment on the centre-back partnership he believes Mustafi has a promising future with the Gunners.
“It’s far too early to say if they are the best since the Invincibles but it looks like a very good, promising partnership,” Keown told the Daily Mail.
“I like the way Mustafi organises himself. He is very good at slowing down his opponent, quick to get into position and reacts to danger quickly. He has a no-nonsense approach. He is also not selfish – he wants to help his partner.
“At 6ft, Mustafi is not the tallest but he has that spring and athleticism. Those attributes help create a better all-round centre back.
“Koscielny has also responded well to the challenge. Gabriel and Per Mertsacker are coming back for from injury while Rob Holding is a good prospect, so Koscielny and Mustafi will have to prove they are the No1 pairing.”
Arsenal haven’t conceded in the last three games Mustafi has started alongside Koscielny. The German has demonstrated his calibre in the recent victories over Chelsea and Burnley keeping Diego Costa and Claret’s striker Sam Vokes completely at bay.
The Gunners are set to return to action after the international break facing Swansea City in the Premier League and Lugorets Razgrad lined-up as their next Champions League fixture.