This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi has said he will forever be “haunted” after receiving criticism from Gunners’ legend Emmanuel Petit and claimed he has become a “target”.
After being booed off by Arsenal fans during a pre-season game in the Emirates Cup against Lyon, the 27-year-old has not taken part in any of the Gunners’ first eight Premier League games.
Nevertheless, Mustafi believes that the criticism that he’s received has been excessive despite a string of high-profile errors towards the end of last season.
The German defender told Der Spiegel that he believes the remarks towards him were irritational.
He said: “I am self-critical enough to see that I made those mistakes, and I can cope with harsh criticism.
“But the criticism escalated, became irrational. I became a target. And we reached a point where people held me responsible for defeats in games I didn’t even take part in.”
Arsenal icon Petit labelled Mustafi as the “king of blunders” and Mustafi took exception to his comments due to his roots with the club.
He added: “I was annoyed, it is one thing when you are criticised by fans or media.
“But it’s a totally different thing if an ex-player, who knows how difficult it can be out there on the pitch, says something like that. I expect those players to be more sensitive and realise what they can initiate with such harsh criticism.
“Back in the day, it would have been in the papers for maybe a day and people would have forgotten about it. But it is written on the internet today and will haunt me for the rest of my career.”
Mustafi has been far from the most consistent performer for the club.
Despite making an average of 5.2 clearances, two tackles and 1.9 interceptions in 31 starts last season, Mustafi will forever be remembered for the errors he made despite being ranked as Arsenal’s second-best defender last season, per Fox Sports.
Fans and pundits, including Petit, have all been critical of some of Mustafi’s performances, and one has to wonder if he should make a move away from the club as he looks to return to form.
After losing his place in the first team, the 27-year-old didn’t get the move in the summer that he wanted and now has to make a big decision about his career in January.