Wenger on Mustafi interest and line-up v Liverpool

Date published: Monday 1st August 2016 9:17

Arsene Wenger has discussed Arsenal’s interest in Shkodran Mustafi, and who will start in central defence for their Premier League season-opener.

Arsenal face Liverpool on August 14 to kick off their season, but face a selection dilemma in central defence.

Per Mertesacker has been ruled out through injury, Laurent Koscielny has not trained in pre-season after the European Championships, and Gabriel has suffered from tonsilitis.

At least one of the trio is expected to feature against the Reds at the Emirates, but Wenger has a choice to make over who their partner will be.

Calum Chambers, summer signing Rob Holding and midfielder Krystian Bielik have all been used in that position in pre-season, while the club have been linked with other defenders.

Holding in particular has shone in pre-season, and Wenger is delighted with his £2m purchase.

“I am impressed by his performances and by his capacity to adapt very quickly to a higher level,” he said. “He shows intelligence, composure, character and it’s impressive. You do not see that often.

“At the moment we have Per Mertesacker out and we have Laurent Koscielny still on holiday, plus Gabriel. One of them will play at the start of the season or at least be in the squad.

“At the moment I have a look at everybody and after I will make my final decision.

“But as you just said, it’s true that Holding adapted very quickly. All the three have top quality and all the three miss a little bit of experience. I’ll have to make a decision in two weeks.”

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