Arsenal look to pull off audacious transfer coup

Shkodran Mustafi has proven himself to be an excellent partner for Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the Gunners’ defence, but that does not mean that they will be resting on their laurels in the transfer market.

According to reports in The Sun, Jose Mourinho’s very public criticism of Chris Smalling has given Arsenal hope that they can bring the England international to North London.

CHRIS SMALLING

Any sort of breakdown in the relationship between a manager and his player can prove difficult to heal and the 26-year-old may feel that he would benefit from Arsene Wenger’s softer approach.

Although the 2016/17 campaign has not been a vintage one for the Manchester United centre-back so far, he proved last season under Louis van Gaal just what a valuable asset he can be:

In 35 Premier League appearances for the Red Devils, Smalling helped his side to keep an impressive tally of 17 clean sheets, with opposing teams taking 102 minutes on average to find the net against them.

The 26-year-old’s numbers were actually slightly better than those put up by Koscielny, so the talent is clearly there if the environment is right.

Originally published at www.kickoff.co.uk on November 15, 2016.