Agent Volker Struth has confirmed to SportBild (quotes via ESPN) that Arsenal were in the running to sign Schalke defender Benedikt Howedes at the end of last month.
The 29 year old eventually moved to Juventus on loan before the close of the transfer window, but Howedes’s agent said that Arsenal wanted the German international to replace Shkodran Mustafi, who was interesting another Italian club Inter Milan. Two other teams in Leicester City and Roma were also talking with Struth about Howedes:
“When this new situation came up, we straight way contacted [Juve sporting director Fabio] Paratici. And we of course also contacted other clubs. We held talks with Roma, Leicester City and Arsenal because we were heard that Inter [Milan] wanted [Shkodran] Mustafi. It was soon clear that if he makes the move, it would be Turin. That was Benni’s favourite from the very beginning.”
Mustafi remained at the Emirates when it became clear that Inter could not afford to pay for the Gunners defender, either on a permanent transfer or on loan.
Considering Howedes is four years older than Mustafi, and unlikely to improve in the future, it seems a strong indication that manager Arsene Wenger was not convinced by the younger German’s performances last season for the Gunners, and would have offloaded the 25 year old this summer given half the chance.