Shkodran Mustafi is an Arsenal player - and our new signing has given us his first interview as a Gunner. Make sure you read on for the full transcript.
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Well Shkodran, after all the rumours, all the stories in the press, we can finally say you’re an Arsenal player. How does it feel to have signed?
I’m happy. It took some time but finally I’m here and I’m happy to have made a step forward in my career again, because I think it is a step forward to have joined this club. I hope I’m going to have a great time here.
We imagine you’ve spoken to Arsène Wenger - what did he say that made you believe this is the right club for you?
Really it was the interest. When a club comes in and shows interest, and it’s a club like Arsenal, that makes you feel special. When I heard of the interest and I saw people trying to get me here - and the situation wasn’t the easiest one - but when you see that people really want to get you here, it gives the feeling that you’re really wanted. That’s why I’m here right now.
Lots of talk across social media about you signing - did you notice how keen the fans were for you to join?
Yeah, I noticed. I saw a lot of pictures going around on Twitter, on Instagram and on Facebook. Some of them made me laugh as well. I know that for people who watch football and live football, waiting for new signings isn’t easy sometimes. All the signings know there are a lot of things going on in the transfer, so you have to make sure you do everything good to have a good start. That’s what we did. We tried to take our time, do everything the best way you can do it and then start this episode here correctly.
For those fans who may not know you too well, what can you tell us about your playing style?
I’ve been playing in different countries. I’m only 24 but I’ve played in Italy, in Germany and in England, where I had some time with Everton. Then I played in Spain as well, so I’ve tried really to take some of the style of the different countries. Right now I would 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.
What did you learn in England from your time at Everton?
When I came to England, I was quite young. I was only 17 and it’s not easy when you come to a different country with a different language, a different culture and a different style of football. The main thing was that I grew up. From a boy, I became a man. The way you play football here, the way that you don’t have excuses for things made me grow up.
Going right back to the start, what can you tell us about your upbringing? Were you always football mad?
When I talk to my parents about it, they always say that I was an easy kid, because all I needed was a ball, some space where I can play and some friends that play with me. I’ve always been crazy about football. I didn’t watch football or follow it that much, or buy football stuff, I was just about getting a ball and playing. That was what I enjoyed the most. I didn’t enjoy watching that much, I enjoyed playing. I spent most of my time outside with friends playing.
Despite that, were there any players that you particularly looked up to when you were young?
There have been a few players that I loved watching. Zidane was one of them, Ronaldinho was another, David Beckham back in the time was one of them. There have been a lot of players that I loved watching.
What makes you most excited about signing for Arsenal?
When you change team, obviously you try to always make a step forward. I think coming here I’ve made a step forward, because Arsenal is a big club with big players and a great manager. For me I think the most important thing was if I made a change, could I learn something? Was it going to be good for my development? I think that being here now is going to help me grow as a player.
More quizzes coming soon!
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