Multiple reports suggest Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos (let’s just go with Sokratis) will make a move to Arsenal at some point this week.
The Gunners are said to be close to a £16 million ($21 million) agreement with the German club for the defender. Sokratis would join former teammates Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat, already in North London.
While Sokratis may not be a high-profile, world-class center back, he is a quality defender. His signing would bring experience and stability to a depleted Arsenal defense. The 29-year-old center back has over 30 Champions League appearances and nearly 200 Bundesliga matches under his belt. As a mainstay in Dortmund’s defense over the last five seasons, the Greece international has helped BVB collect the German Cup during the 2016/17 campaign.
A quality defender
As far as qualities go, Sokratis is a solid tackler, a capable passer, and is very good in the air. He ranked sixth in tackles among Bundesliga center backs last season, fourth in passes and twelfth in aerial duels won.
The deceptively pacy defender also had very few mistakes. His eight unsuccessful touches, six dispossessed, and eight dribbled past numbers all rank low amongst Bundesliga defenders during the 2017/18 season.
Some Arsenal fans are turned off by the player’s age, as he is about to turn 30 soon. However, the potential transfer makes sense due to the club’s trio of relatively young center backs on contract.
Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, and Dinos Mavropanos are all capable defenders; but, it doesn’t appear is if the Arsenal brass are ready to hand over the reins to their young center backs. Sokratis would theoretically be a two or three year stopgap for the trio to grow as players. Chambers is signed with the club until 2021, and Holding and Mavropanos are tied down until 2023.
A mentor, a player
Another reason this transfer would succeed is the fact that Sokratis and Mavropanos are both Greek. Few people had even heard of the 20-year-old Greek defender, Mavropanos, when Arsenal announced his signature in January. Nevertheless, he has looked like a quintessential Mislintat signing during his short time in north London.
Sokratis would seemingly help both the Arsenal defense and the progression of the talented Mavropanos. Having an established veteran to aide your career is one thing, having a fellow countryman there could make a big difference.