'I respect his decision' - Emery backs Mustafi after Arsenal misfit rejects move
Unai Emery insists he respects Shokdran Mustafi’s decision to remain at Arsenal and says the defender will still be part of his plans this season.
Mustafi was widely expected to leave the Emirates during the transfer window, with Emery publicly stating that a move would be best for the German’s career after his error-strewn stay in north London.
But despite Arsenal moving several unwanted players out throughout the summer, Mustafi remained - with the centre-back deciding to stay and fight for his place.
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Mustafi has not played a minute of football yet this season and is not expected to be involved this weekend when Arsenal return to Premier League action with a trip to Watford.
But with the Europa League and Carabao Cup starting up again within the next fortnight, he could soon come back into contention as Emery begins to rotate his squad.
And Arsenal’s head coach insists the 27-year-old will not be treated differently to anyone else in the squad.
“Mustafi decided to be here and when he decided to be here, he’s like any other player,” said Emery.
“Of course I respect his decision. When he decided I spoke to him and said, ‘You’re one more in the squad, I’m going to work with you as other players’.
“I don’t know exactly who was in his decision [to stay], but when he decided to stay here, it’s another player in the squad.”
Mustafi’s last action in an Arsenal shirt came against Barcelona during the club's final pre-season friendly of the summer.
That followed on from the Emirates Cup, when he was booed by his own fans having been brought on as a second-half substitute against Lyon.
The defender was also booed by Arsenal supporters during the club’s tour of the United States earlier in the summer.
But despite all that, Emery believes Mustafi is in a good frame of mind and says he has been impressed by the way he has trained in recent weeks.
“Since he decided to stay here, he’s working every day with a big motivation and good spirit,” said the Spaniard.
“That is one issue I want from every player: training with good spirit, helping and after giving us his performance in training and after, if I decide, in the match.”