Shkodran Mustafi has been offered an Arsenal lifeline as head coach Mikel Arteta admits he currently has a dearth of defensive options.
Germany international Mustafi appeared certain to leave the Emirates either last summer or during the January transfer window having been told by former boss Unai Emery he was surplus to requirements.
However, having started just one Premier League game this term, Mustafi could be handed further opportunities by Arteta due to a lengthening injury list.
With Calum Chambers sidelined for the remainder of the season and Konstantinos Mavropanos allowed to leave on loan to Nurnberg, Mustafi is one of four central defenders available to the Gunners – along with Sokratis Papastathopoulos, David Luiz and Rob Holding.
Meanwhile, injuries to full-backs Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac has left Arsenal even shorter at the back.
“Can we afford [ to lose a centre-back]?” Arteta said The ideal scenario is no.
“If it happens, we will have to invent something. We are already playing with full-backs that are not full-backs.
“They are wingers or central midfielders and could we afford to lose full-backs? No, but we don’t have any full-backs.”