Arsene Wenger likened Shkodran Mustafi to Per Mertesacker after his performance in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over rivals Tottenham in the north London derby on Saturday.
Mustafi opened the scoring for the Gunners at the Emirates and his defensive display prevented Tottenham featuring on the scoreboard.
Wenger believes the defender brings a greater degree of organisation to his back line, similar to team-mate Mertesacker.
The Arsenal manager said: “First of all, he’s similar to Per on a mental front, but of course he’s 10 years younger, and he’s a leader, he’s a motivator.
“He has a strong focus, and he’s strong in the challenge. He had an outstanding performance against Tottenham. In the air he was good. He started a bit nervy and slowly became stronger and stronger.”
Mustafi was out for six weeks after a thigh injury in October but Arsenal are yet to concede when the German has been paired in defence with Laurent Koscielny.
Mustafi had a varied first season when he joined from Valencia in 2016 and was linked with a potential move to Inter Milan last summer.
The 25-year-old dismissed the rumours he was ever close to leaving Arsenal, saying: “In the end, what happens in the changing room is the real thing.
Arsene Wenger praised Arsenal's defensive concentration in the 2-0 north London derby win over Tottenham.
“I don’t understand why people are just talking about things. How can they know? How can they know if I have or haven’t been talking to clubs? It’s just rumours.
“But I’m here. I’m standing right in front of you in an Arsenal shirt.”