Sokratis Papasthatopoulos’ move to Arsenal has been announced by Borussia Dortmund Sporting Director Michael Zorc, according to Sky Sports. In fact, the German club have already secured a potential long-term replacement by signing 22-year-old French centre-back Abdou Diallo from Mainz.
Earlier reports claimed the two clubs had come near an agreement for a fee of around £16million.
The long-awaited, likely arrival of the Greece international will be another part of the defensive overhaul the newly appointed manager Unai Emery is currently undergoing at the Emirates, and amid all the glamour of the World Cup in full swing at the moment this is a refreshing piece of news for Arsenal fans.
At the mature age of 30, Sokratis (along with Stephan Lichtsteiner) will bring lots of experience into a back line mostly consisting of very young players with captain Laurent Koscielny out for the rest of the year with a knee injury. Standing 6’1” tall, the centre-back will give the Gunners some physical strength at the back.
Sokratis joined Dortmund in 2013 and made 198 appearances in all competitions for them, scoring 10 goals in that time.
Sky Sports also report, quoting their own sources, that Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu has revealed his desire to move to the Emirates too. The player reportedly claims an offer has already been made, while Sky Sports say they are aware of the negotiations between the clubs taking place at the moment. They also add that Freiburg will have the final say in the matter.
Only 22, Soyuncu is a young player likely to be a part of Arsenal’s future defensive core alongside Hector Bellerin, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. An inch taller than Sokratis, he’s also good in the air, but what sets him apart from most central defenders in the Premier League is his considerable skill with the ball at his feet. He also boasts surprising composure and leadership qualities for such a young defender.
Since moving from Turkish club Altınordu in 2016, Soyuncu made 55 appearances for Freiburg and scored a single goal.