Mikel Arteta has hinted he wants Shokdran Mustafi to sign a new contract - but says the defender’s future is in the club’s hands.
Mustafi has been much maligned since he made the move to Arsenal from Valencia in 2016, with high profile errors a constant theme of his stay in north London.
He looked certain to leave under previous boss Unai Emery, with the Spaniard publicly advising the German that it would be better for his career if he moved elsewhere.
But Mustafi stayed put and has been brought back into the fold by Arteta, starting 15 of Arsenal’s last 17 matches and helping them to six clean sheets along the way.
There is now even talk of a new contract, with the defender into the final year of his current deal, and Arteta has hinted he would be happy if the World Cup winner put pen to paper and extending his stay at the Emirates.
“That’s something the club has to address but he knows my opinion,” said Arsenal’s head coach.
“I’m really happy with him as you can see. The way he’s playing, how committed he is with everything we’re trying to do, the level in his performance ever three or four days, he’s been really consistent.”
Mustafi will start again for Arsenal on Sunday when they travel to Tottenham for a crucial north London derby.
The Gunners go into the game eighth in the table, one point and place above their rivals - with both eyeing qualification for the Europa League next season.
But Arteta’s side sit 42 points adrift of runaway champions Liverpool and 19 behind second-placed Manchester City and Arsenal’s head coach accepts there is a lot of work to do if his side are to start challenging for the top honours again.
He said: “The level of the two top teams in the league has raised so much in a very short space of time.
“There are many reasons you can analyse but the gap has become so big in the past two or three years that we all have to make good decisions and good work to catch up and make the distance much smaller.
“And don’t think it is just one or two clubs. It is a lot of clubs that are trying to do that at the moment.”