Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi has said criticism of his performances has gotten out of hand after being dropped by Unai Emery this season.
The German has fallen out of favour with the Spaniard, who has regularly put his faith in Sokratis, David Luiz and Calum Chambers instead.
Mustafi is yet to feature in any of Arsenal’s eight Premier League games so far this season, and has been limited to three cup and Europa League appearances, keeping a clean sheet in each of those starts.
During an interview with Der Spiegel, the centre-back slammed his critics and talked about Arsenal’s disastrous 5-1 loss at Liverpool last season.
“The criticism has become escalated and irrational,” Mustafi said. “I have become a target. At some point, people even blamed me for a defeat I had not played at all.
“In the first two years at Arsenal everything went well for me, I saw myself as a top performer in the squad. After Christmas [in the defeat at Liverpool] I made some mistakes on the pitch, then it turned into chaos, which I have never seen before.”
Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit called Mustafi the “king of blunders” last season, and the Germany international said that comment was out of line.
“It’s the one thing when fans or media criticise you, but it’s a different story when an ex-player who knows how hard it sometimes is in the field says so,” he said. “Former players like Petit should not have to make a name for themselves by making condescending comments about current players.”
Mustafi moved to the Emirates Stadium in 2016 in a £35m transfer from Valencia, but has considered leaving the club, though admitted he didn’t receive any acceptable offer this year.
“In the summer there were considerations to change the club,” he said. “There was no option that would have satisfied all sides. If I change somewhere where it does not really fit, the situation could not improve much. So I stayed. I am open for the future – also for the Bundesliga.”