Borussia Dortmund’s defensive stalwart Sokratis Papastathopoulos is ready to join Arsenal this summer after rejecting Manchester United.
According to latest reports from The Sun, Premier League giants Arsenal have moved one inch closer to acquiring the services of Sokratis. The defender’s father has already admitted that the player has snubbed league rivals Manchester United in order to join the Gunners this summer and his move to London could be completed within the next few days.
Initially being brought in as a replacement for Felipe Santana as well as a competitor of Neven Subotic in the summer of 2013, the Greek international has seen a steady rise in his stock at Westfalenstadion. In fact, the former Werder Bremen man emerged as Dortmund’s leader in defence, following the shock departure of Mats Hummels in 2015.
The 29-year-old was a part of Dortmund’s enormous success under Thomas Tuchel when the German tactician led the black and yellows to their best ever finish in a Bundesliga season, although they did fail to eclipse Bayern Munich at the end. He also played a key role in the DFB Cup triumph in the 2016-17 season as they beat Eintracht Frankfurt in the final.
Highly regarded as one of the best defenders in German top flight, Sokratis certainly bags a lot of experience, having made almost 200 appearances in the Bundesliga.
Arsenal, on the other hand, are currently lacking a bit of depth in their defensive department, following the retirement of veteran skipper Per Mertesacker. In addition, Calum Chambers’ long-term future with the club is still uncertain while the young defensive duo of Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavrapanos are not yet ready to become a regular fixture in the English top flight.
Therefore, the addition of an experienced defender is imperative for the Gunners this summer as they look to usher in a new era under newly appointed head coach Unai Emery and Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis has been identified as the perfect candidate, who can solidify Arsenal’s lacklustre defence next season.
However, that being said, Sokratis might not necessarily be a great fit with the Gunners for a number of reasons. Despite having a vast amount of experience in top-flight football, the Greek defender lacks defensive intelligence, which is definitely not a good fit for a club like Arsenal.
Following the departure of Thomas Tuchel, the 29-year-old has constantly struggled to bring solidity into the Dortmund defence, often being way too fragile in the defensive half. Apart from lacking defensive understanding, the former Bremen defender is also bad when it comes to passing and ball circulation. While his rather impressive passing statistics may suggest otherwise, the Greek international struggles to pass in between the lines. Especially against a high intense press, Sokratis can be very fragile on the ball as he has already demonstrated for a number of times this season.
Furthermore, the Dortmund defender also lacks positioning sense and has been caught out of position on several occasions throughout the course of this season. Despite all his experience, Sokratis has shown a massive loophole in his game this season and therefore, making a move for the Greek international might turn out to be a huge gamble for Arsenal this summer.