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Emery tells under-fire Mustafi he can leave Arsenal

22:30 BST 09/08/2019
Shkodran Mustafi Arsenal 2019-20
The Gunners defender has been linked with Monaco and could still move with the European transfer window open throughout August

Unai Emery admits he has told Shkodran Mustafi that he can find a new club.

Arsenal’s head coach has used the German defender sparingly during pre-season, with Calum Chambers now ahead of him in the pecking order.

Chambers and Sokratis are expected to start at St James’ Park on Sunday when Arsenal get their Premier League campaign underway at Newcastle, just as they did against Barcelona at the Camp Nou last weekend during the Gunners’ final pre-season game.

Mustafi had to make do with a place on the bench against Barcelona and with David Luiz arriving from Chelsea on deadline day, the 27-year-old is set to fall even further down the pecking order in north London.

And as he prepares to go into his second season in charge at the Emirates, Emery admits he has told Mustafi that he can leave - with a departure still possible this month while the European transfer window remains open.

“I spoke with him when we finished last season,” said the Spaniard. “I spoke with him when we started pre-season and I spoke with him also two weeks ago saying maybe there was the possibility he can leave.

“We decided to be more competitive in each position, at centre-back with David Luiz, with another player in the middle with (Dani) Ceballos, with Kieran Tierney, with (Nicolas) Pepe.

“I think being more competitive we can respond better in the season. Some players maybe they can play less with that situation and can leave.

“But it’s one decision taken with the player, with the club, with the team. At the moment he [Mustafi] is here and really if we need, he plays with us. I have confidence he will do well.”

Mustafi, who has been linked with Monaco in recent weeks, has come in for some stinging criticism at times during his Arsenal career due to a series of high-profile errors that have cost the team at key periods.

His mistake during the hame game against Crystal Palace towards the end of last season, which gifted Wilfried Zaha a goal, was seen as the final straw by many.

The former Valencia man was booed at times during the pre-season tour to the United States and it was a similar story when he was introduced in the second half of the Emirates Cup game against Lyon.

Emery admits it is not an ideal situation and insists he will do all he can to try to keep Mustafi’s confidence up in case he is needed.

“We have a big responsibility,” said Emery. “The responsibility is to give them the best possibility to be with us with confidence.

“Some supporters can believe in or like one player more than another player, that’s normal.

“But inside I want to be strong and to create a big squad with a big, competitive, winning mentality and above all, one with confidence in each other.

“If he [Mustafi] needs to play, he can help us with confidence.”