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Arsene Wenger has left the door open for Shkodran Mustafi to leave Arsenal before the transfer window closes.
The defender has been linked with a move away from the Emirates in recent days, with Inter Milan and Juventus reportedly interested in signing the Germany international.
Asked whether Mustafi could go before the August 31 transfer deadline day, Wenger initially suggested not.
‘No I don’t expect [him to leave]. It’s difficult for me to speak about individual cases.’
However the Arsenal manager then provided himself with some wiggle room by suggesting it was impossible to say what might happen over the next week.
‘The transfer market is now in the final seven days and it’s always difficult to predict what happens. You have got to make quick and sharp decisions.
‘You cannot come out in press conferences and say how you will respond to any solicitation.’
Mustafi only joined the Gunners last summer when he arrived from Valencia in a £35million deal – making him the club’s third most expensive player ever.
But despite his hefty price-tag the World Cup winner failed to totally cement a place in the side last season, making a total of 26 Premier League appearances.
Meanwhile Rob Holding has excelled beyond expectations following his arrival from Bolton.
If Mustafi were to leave he would follow fellow central defender Gabriel out the door with the Brazilian having joined Valencia for £10m last week.
It would leave the club with Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Holding, Nacho Monreal, Calum Chambers and Sead Kolasinac as options in central defensive roles. Wenger also has full-backs Hector Bellerin, Kieran Gibbs and Mathieu Debuchy to call upon.