Mikel Arteta vows to improve Shkodran Mustafi with Arsenal set to sign Pablo Mari

Mikel Arteta believes he can improve Shkodran Mustafi at Arsenal (Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta insists Shkodran Mustafi still has a future at Arsenal as the club close in on the signing of Spanish centre-back Pablo Mari.

Mari arrived in London with Arsenal’s technical director Edu on Saturday and is expected to finalise his move from Flamengo this week.

Arteta has been keen to bolster his defensive options and his problems at the back were highlighted during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea last Tuesday when Mustafi’s poor backpass led to David Luiz’s red card.

Mustafi has been the source of frustration with many Arsenal supporters but Arteta believes he can improve the 27-year-old.

Asked if Mustafi still has a future at Arsenal, Arteta replied: ‘When he is my player and when he is training with me the way he does every day, of course.

Flamengo defender Pablo Mari is set to join Arsenal (AMA/Getty Images)

‘The plans maybe in the summer were different with him. I came here, he is here and his attitude is always right and he wants to help.

‘Yes he made a mistake, but it’s OK. I like more the reaction and I look more at the reaction.

‘I don’t believe that at 27 you cannot improve certain aspects of the game; I really believe you can.

‘I work with players like this and I have team-mates like this and there is always a moment where there is a click.

Shkodran Mustafi was heavily criticised for his performance against Chelsea (Getty Images)

‘I can accept a mistake, no problem. What I’m not going to accept is somebody makes a mistake and after he stops playing, and he doesn’t want the ball and doesn’t want to make decisions. That player is not acceptable for our team.

‘But Musti after that [mistake], he tried to play every single time, he went for every single challenge and put his body on the line. He was down afterwards but he reacted and if he does that, he will overcome the situation.

‘I ask him to play the way we want to play. He makes a mistake, another day it will be someone else. Obviously we want to minimise that as quick as possible and find the reason why that happens, but I like his reaction after that.’


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