Arsenal look set to make their first post-Wenger signing, despite the Frenchman’s successor not yet being announced. Arsenal’s new structure means that the manager will not be the only influence in new signings, with Head of Recruitment, Sven Mislintat very much the lead in identifying and signing new players.
Mislintat was influential in bringing Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan to the club in January and now he is set to add another former Borussia Dortmund player in Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Dortmund will allow the 29-year-old defender to leave this summer, with a fee of around £15million already thought to be close to being agreed. The Greek defender hasn’t had the best of seasons, but he is highly rated by Mislintat and others and would add experience and steel to an Arsenal backline that definitely is deficient in those areas.
Sokratis is available for a discounted price after failing to agree an extension to his current deal at Dortmund, which has just one year remaining.
Arsenal are said to be in discussions to complete this deal before the new manager in announced. Mikel Arteta is now the heavy favourite, with confirmation on that appointment set to follow next week.
Sokratis stands at 6ft 1′ and is known for his aggression and reliable passing statistics. Primarily a central defender, what will be useful for Arsenal is that Sokratis can also play at right-back – where the Gunners currently lack depth and quality.
Whilst Sokratis has struggled somewhat this season, too much shouldn’t be read into that as many Dortmund players have struggled under manager Stoger, and Sokratis of all the defenders, is the one Dortmund fans won’t want to see leave this season, but they are starting to come to terms with the fact that he will be moving on.
As long as this is not the Gunners final defensive addition of the summer, I’m all for it. We need more quality, more depth and more experience in defensive and Sokratis helps address all of them. At £15million it’s really good value too.
With Per Mertesacker retiring and Laurent Koscielny’s career on the rocks following his latest injury, this deal makes sense.
I’m sure there’s lots more signings to come…