Arsenal news: Shkodran Mustafi vows not to crack under pressure as Gunners are on to 'something big'

Mustafi became Arsenal's most expensive defender in the summer and says that he understands the expectations that come with such a fee

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The Independent Football

Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi has vowed not to let his £35m weigh him down after making an impressive start to life at the Emirates Stadium.

Having been given a glimpse of the Premier League during his short stay with Everton, the 24-year-old has settled in well alongside Laurent Koscielny in the Arsenal defence, and looks to have ousted club captain Per Mertesacker from his place in Arsene Wenger’s back four.

Arsenal fans were eager for Wenger to bring in a reliable defender after seeing their Premier League title challenge fall apart last season, and the 66-year-old Frenchman responded by sanctioning the large fee to bring in Mustafi from Valencia, making him the third most expensive centre-back in history behind David Luiz and John Stones.

Of course, with such a fee spent on one player comes a large level of pressure and expectation, but the Germany international made it clear that he understand he needs to perform in order to repay the club for their investment – even if the fee is considered a daunting one in the Mustafi family’s origin of Gostivar in Macedonia.

“I wanted to go to Arsenal, everything else was negotiated by the club,” he said while away on international duty with Germany.

“Of course, this [price tag] is an incredible sum. And I know what a burden that can bring. Especially in my second home in Gostivar. But I could not influence that. So I push it far away.”

After a solid start to his Arsenal career against French champions Paris Saint-Germain, Mustafi has helped the side to three consecutive clean sheets against Chelsea, Basel and most recently Burnley, and he was keen to stress that Wenger’s side may finally be on to “something big”.

 


“We are showing that we have something big maybe,” Mustafi added. “So we have goals. And we can achieve. I have faith in that, too.”

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Mustafi has helped Arsenal to three clean sheets on the spin (Getty)

Mustafi’s attentions will be on international duty for the next week however as Germany continue their qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup, with Saturday’s home fixture against the Czech Republic at Hamburg’s Volkparkstadion followed by the visit of Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland to the HDO-Arena in Hannover.

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