Former Arsenal stars select situations that defined their career with the Gunners
‘At the end of it all, I’m a person like any other on the Earth to strive for paradise. That is my main task.
Mustafi's form, he claims, is thanks in no small part to his religion.
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Arsenal new boy Shkodran Mustafi has revealed how his Muslim faith helps him perform on the pitch.
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 2 October 2016.
"He is very focused, and he knows the rigorous climate of the Premier League and how much you have to fight for every game.
Joachim Löw called up Mustafi to the German national squad for a friendly match against Chile in February 2014, he made his full international debut in a friendly match against Poland, playing the full 90 minutes of a goalless draw at the Volksparkstadion on 13 May 2014.
Most of Mustafi's work came under the eye of Alan Stubbs and Andy Holden in Everton's Under-21 side. "The main thing was that I grew up," he explained. "From a boy, I became a man." Speaking to Steve Round, the newly-appointed technical director at Aston Villa who was David Moyes' assistant at Everton, it's clear the potential was there.
The 24-year-old German international has already formed a formidable partnership at the heart of Arsene Wenger’s defence with Laurent Koscielny and looks well equipped for English football.
“Being a Muslim is very important to me, more important than anything, although sometimes travel makes it difficult for me to always pray when I want to," Mustafi told Sport Bild .
Last year at Valencia Mustafi protested after he was instructed to conduct a press conference with a beer bottle in front of him.
"The player wanted to join us as well, and I think he will hopefully be happy here and will enforce our squad. It puts us in a good position.
Alcohol is forbidden in Islam, but Mustafi was forced to speak to reporters with the bottle in clear view due to a sponsorship deal between Valencia CF and Estrella.
In May 2009, Mustafi joined Everton, initially assigned to the Academy team. He later stated that "Goodison Park feels like home", after turning down offers from Manchester City and Newcastle United.
Mustafi only appeared on the bench nine times in the following two campaigns, but never played in any further matches.
The 24-year-old defender moved to the Emirates in a £35million transfer from Valencia at the back of the summer transfer window.
“At the end, the bottle remained standing but the club and the brewery apologised to me because they understood that as a Muslim alcohol is not acceptable in any form.
The Gunners want to reward the 20-year-old again after establishing himself as a first-team regular, with deals for Bellerin, Ozil and Sanchez in the pipeline too
“That is my main task. And if I play a c**p game it’s not the end of the world.”
He began his career in the youth ranks of Hamburger SV and English club Everton, where he made one substitute appearance in two-and-a-half-years before leaving to Sampdoria in January 2012. He signed a five-year deal at Valencia in August 2014, and moved to Arsenal for a reported £35 million two years later.
"I know as well he is a player who can play with the ball as well. That is important for us, and all this quality made me decide to try and get him.
The 24-year-old defender has been with the Spanish club for two seasons, making 64 league appearances. He began his senior career by coming through the academy at Everton before spending two years with Sampdoria in Serie A.
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"I've tried really to take some of the style of the different countries," he says. "Right now I'd say that I'm quite an aggressive player. I go into everything, that's what I learnt in England. But on the other side, I'm quite tactical. I try to read the game, like you do in Italy. With the ball, I try to play out and enjoy having the ball, not just giving it away as soon as you get it."
The Germany international has been bought to plug the void left by crocked pair Per Mertesacker and Gabriel and Wenger believes he is ready to scrap for every top-flight point.
"I have always loved Arsenal, I like how they play here, it is not typical English. The game here is more like in Spain and with the German national team, keeping the ball on the grass, so it was easy to convince me."
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Mustafi made his full international debut against Poland on 13 May 2014, and was part of the German team which won the 2014 FIFA World Cup, also competing at UEFA Euro 2016.
"He is a very intelligent boy, that was important in my decision," Wenger told Arsenal Player.
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The 23-year-old completed his £35million switch to Emirates Stadium on Tuesday following a protracted transfer saga as Wenger sealed a twin swoop on the penultimate day of dealings.
Born in Bad Hersfeld, Hesse, to an Albanian family, originally from Gostivar, Macedonia, Mustafi started his career in the youth system of local 1. FC Bebra, and had a stint with SV Rotenburg, before joining Hamburger SV's youth setup in 2006.
Arsène Wenger said: “He is at the right age. He has good experience. He is a very focused player who can play with the ball as well. We have taken a great player but have prepared well for the future.”
Shkodran Mustafi (German pronunciation: [ˈʃkoːdʁan ˈmʊstafiː]; born 17 April 1992) is a German professional footballer who plays as a central defender for English club Arsenal and the Germany national team.
"He was a great lad with an excellent attitude and lots of potential," Round tells Sky Sports. "He was one we felt would go on to play higher. His problem was that there were people in front of him and he wanted to go and play. When your contract runs out the compensation to go across borders to Europe is very low and he went to gain first-team experience."
“The Euros was a problem for me too, because it came in the middle of Ramadan and it would not have been possible to limit my food and fluid intake.
Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal's final summer signing Shkodran Mustafi is already suited to the Premier League.
“I did win the battle in the end, you know," Mustafi said. “I did not want people thinking I’m doing this for beer advertising.
Mustafi made his Samp debut on 26 May 2012, starting and playing the full 90 minutes of a 1–3 loss at Varese. It was his maiden appearance in the competition, as Sampdoria returned to Serie A at first attempt. He made his debut in the Italian top flight on 11 November 2012, starting in a 0–2 loss at Palermo.