Report: Arsenal set for €20m Sokratis Papastathopoulos deal

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Reports from Germany say that Arsenal are set to sign Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund.

Bild report that the Gunners are set to splash out €20m on the Greek defender as Sven Mislintat returns to his former club to bolster the squad of his new one.

Arsenal are in real need of an experienced central defender following the retirement of Per Mertesacker and the serious injury sustained by Laurent Koscielny.

Doubts persist over the form and suitability of Shkodran Mustafi who could be a departure this summer as a defensive shake-up takes place.

Konstantinos Mavropanos arrived in January, while both Rob Holding and Calum Chambers signed new deals recently. There are also strong links to 21 year old Freiburg centre-half Caglar Soyuncu.

Our tactics columnist, and keen Dortmund watcher, Lewis Ambrose, gives us this view of the potential signing.

Sokratis is an interesting target for Arsenal and fits in with the way the team have tried to defend in recent years: on the front foot. The best word to sum up his approach is would be ‘aggressive’, which is probably his biggest strength and his biggest weakness.

“The centre-back can be an uncompromising opponent on his day, bullying his direct opponent, but he focuses too much on winning the ball back and can leave gaping holes at the back if he’s beaten. His recovery speed is good but he can steps out of the back-line too freely and may be punished in England for his penchant for pulling shirts at set-pieces.

“His Dortmund career started solidly and he slowly improved up until midway through 2016 but his form has suffered since.

“It’s difficult to decipher whether that is down to him going through a decline in his late 20s or the team slowly getting worse over the last 18 months.

“Though he’s generally performed during his five years at Dortmund and the club wanted to keep him, there aren’t too many fans overly disappointed to see he’ll be leaving, especially with a probable €20m fee widely mentioned.”

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AmericanGooner
AmericanGooner

I would like to transfer him in as the last time I played Fifa (Fifa 14), he became an 82, which is solid.

Then again, Mustafi became an 86… ?

Bould's Eyeliner
Bould's Eyeliner

So you’d be happy with a B-? What kind of American… oh wait all of us.

Earlofcoddington
Earlofcoddington

He’s an 86 in FUT this year, fairly pacey, solid at the back, real meat head! Got over 800 caps for me. I say sign him up!!!

Pedant
Pedant

Hmmm… not many Dortmund fans upset if he goes…

Not sure we should be going for him then, despite the fact I like that he is strong and aggressive and 29, so a good age for a defender.

Nketibag
Nketibag

Sven is milking this big yellow cow dry

yellowmoocow
yellowmoocow

do we get an official banana milk partner?

Myrtle
Myrtle

Papastopgapoulos

thejw1
thejw1

Team him with Mavropanos — and drive game announcers to drink.

jw1

A Different George
A Different George

But we won’t be able to say “the Greek guy” anymore.

Rummy
Rummy

“he focuses too much on winning the ball back and can leave gaping holes at the back if he’s beaten.” Sounds like a perfect fit!

GunnerDareMKD
GunnerDareMKD

poor man mustafi, which says it all as mustafi was a disaster this year.

Chippy87
Chippy87

Feels like a squad player type signing to me.

Eric Blair
Eric Blair

Having watched him very often at Werder Bremen and Dortmund let me simply say….. please God no, he is a liability and an accident waiting to happen.

GunnerDareMKD
GunnerDareMKD

This guy is not even better than mustafi he makes the same mistakes as mustafi does double the time.

lessthanthesumoftheirparts
lessthanthesumoftheirparts

I was lucky enough to be at Dortmund Schalke 4-4 earlier this season and I can say this guy was all over the shop in the second half. Absolutely no composure – rash is an understatement – with a lack of aerial presence. Is this really what we need right now for the dawn of this great new era? He’s Mustafi mk 2.0 without the potential.

Gereoma
Gereoma

Any club going for Arteta, the worst, should be expected.

johar
johar

Oh dear.

Ann Noyd
Ann Noyd

Well there goes half the transfer budget.. on a guy who sounds just like Mustafi

lessthanthesumoftheirparts
lessthanthesumoftheirparts

So that’s why Vic Akers left, kit man’s worst nightmare.

Mpls
Mpls

His poor boy. Nepotism landed squarely on him this time around.

N10
N10

Maybe we can just buy BvB and merge it with AFC? Borussia Arsenal?

Pakgooner
Pakgooner

Shkodran Sokratis

Public Elneny
Public Elneny

Damn, I thought his contract was expiring this summer. Still I guess we can recoup the £20m fee by selling Mustafi. Hopefully bring in that Caglar Soyoncu guy (or someone similarly talented) and we’ll have good options at CB next year.

Also thank fuck we didn’t sign Jonny Evans.

santori
santori

We have way too many potential Cbacks and not enough real deals.

Instead of buying an experience Cback in January, we brought in yet another 20yr old. We already had Holding and Chambers is frankly not much older.

The whole thought process behind recruitment is flawed and at best driven by expediency of the DoF’s ex contacts rather than actualk squad needs.

De Vrij goes for free this summer. Koulabaly will cost a bit more no doubt but we need a bit of ambition if we want to claw back up to title contention.

The way we may seemingly be going, expect similar if not worse from what Wenger delivered in last 2 years.

Merlin's Panini
Merlin's Panini

He’s not a bad player and could offer valuable experience if Koscielny is as badly injured as I fear he is. He’s in the right age bracket. That said the comments on him don’t really fill me with confidence and perhaps I’d rather see someone like Manolas, who’s a little bit younger, coming in.
Who knows though, maybe a new manager and coaching set up will get our current defenders playing to a better standard, and Papastathopoulos if he joins.

Also, not related to this, just wondering why it’s news that Wilshere gets rejected by England and not when Welbeck gets included? I honestly didn’t expect Welbeck to be chosen given his injury record has been worse than Jack’s and his form has been really hit and miss.
Still, at least it gives me a reason to show some interest in England (unless he leaves).

Merlin's Panini
Merlin's Panini

ok, I see this has been done now. Fair fucks.

Finlay307
Finlay307

Wilshere is shite.

santori
santori

Jack is a good player and he brings us an ability to carry the ball through the middle.

His movement and use of space is excellent.

The problem with Jack is fitness.

If played without rest (and he will run himself into the ground for the team), he knackers quick and in certain games, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak., he starts to lose output.

We have not been able to sufficiently rotate him with the paucity in midfield and Elneny injured as well (plus we inexplicably sold Coquelin early again)

Which means we are reliant on AMN or Willock something we should never be put in position to do even if these younger players may hold promise.

Midfield requires experience as it is the most interperative role knowing when to commit forward and when to sit back in caution.

Finlay307
Finlay307

O.K Maybe that was harsh. I was totally sold on Wilshere (like everyone else) all those years ago. I just really think his time is up. He went on loan to Bournemouth ffs.

santori
santori

“Not bad” is NOT what we need at this point.

We need the best we can get.

Particularly if the rumoured manager coming in is green.

It will also not inspire any confidence in better players for other positions to sign for us being that we are already out of CL and if should we sign an inexperience manager, it makes little sense for them to gamble their career with us.

Berlingoon
Berlingoon

Always rated Manolas very highly and even more so after Roma’s games against Barca. But against Liverpool and their pace he really didn’t look like someone who is perfectly suited to the demands of the PL.
Sokratis has been pretty good and consistent over his time at Dortmund but last season he was really bad but so was the whole team therefore it’s hard to judge if it was up to him or to tactical reasons.
If I could chose between them, I think I’d still rather go for Manolas but none of them would fill me with huge confidence tbh.

Michael Bolton Wanderers
Michael Bolton Wanderers

Sounds like he plays like mustafi, might be quite interesting. In my mind he’s a solid defender, but I don’t think I’ve seen that much of him to be honest. I have a good feeling about this

santori
santori

The problem for Mustafi is he has been also dragged out of position too often and faced with too many one on one situations.

He is actually one of our best Cbacks and has put in plenty of critical stops and blocks.

BUT the way we play, with fullbacks having to make width further forward, the Cbacks get caught pulled wide.

This was especially an issue when Granit was positionally incorrect earlier in season but he has got much better over last 12 games.

Still Mustafi is culpable for a number of errors but the other Cbacks as well (Koscielny recently)

The entire back line is error prone but partially, because we drop energy-wise in midfield (sometimes with Jack struggling and little timely intervention from sidelines), pressure on the back will always create mistakes.

On the flip side, we have also been less than spectacular going forward.

There are all these wank jobs about Lacazette and Aubameyang and their respectable tally but there have been games when we have been insipid and toothless going forward offering little relief to the already confidence thin back line of ours.

Defensive issues will not be solved by just Cbacks. It will certainly not be solved replacing Mustafi because the other Cbacks are equally culpable if not weaker.

Instead it is a holistic approach from back through midfield to attack that needs to address the failures both keeping clean sheets but also going forward.

Midfielders have also been poor tracking players running in behind the Cbacks nor shouts given to warn them.

So to blame it simply on one individual (say Flamini) ignores the real issues and we will continue to struggle throwing band aids from makret on the cheap by a recruitment team with no regard to actual needs or proper consult/intergration with management direction on field.

A Different George
A Different George

As far as “we have been less than spectacular going forward”–well, away for sure. At home, only Man City has been better. If I keep saying this, maybe eventually it will sink in.

Charles Charlie Charles
Charles Charlie Charles

Really feels like the word for our summer transfers is going to be ‘underwhelming’. Good luck to the new manager.

santori
santori

Don’t worry, the manager signing may also underwhelm.

Bob dobbery
Bob dobbery

We had the Highbury era, the banter era, now to the underwhelming era haha

Juan Cornetto
Juan Cornetto

One of the famous Charles brothers.

Finlay307
Finlay307

Interesting signing if it is true. If he and the Turkish lad comes in we are going to have a lot of CB’s! Maybe Mustafi is going?

What is pleasing about all this early transfer news is that we seem to be trying to do our business early. In my opinion, one of the Wegner’s biggest weaknesses was his indecisiveness in the market. Allowing our targets (and our players) to join rivals across Europe.

If the rumours are all true and we do sign Sokratis, Soyoncu, and Seri then we have at least identified the weak areas in our team. it will remain to be seen if they are successful.

I would also like us to buy Sessegnon from Fulham, Max Meyer (if Rambo leaves) and Oblak (but I would settle for Leno)

santori
santori

Unlikely to see us buy beyond 3 players this summer.

Most likely midfield (maybe dependent on Jack decision). Seri would be a good buy or the young fellow at Lyon Ndombele. Someone who can control midfield better and have technical skills.

Most likely Cback as well more than likely bc Koscielny will not be unavailable and is on the wane.

Then if the keeper becomes an issue, we may have to deal with that but outgoing (Ospina) may compensate in kind money-wise.

BUT the position we will need (Winger) is a question mark. The squad is unbalanced up top.

Much made of Lacazette and Aubameyang goal tallies but there have been too many games when we have been toothless up top even with them and then the inevitable pressure to the back leads to a punishing mistake.

The creative wide player (with technical skills) is what we needed in January not Mhkitrayn,

Again Mslintat bought at expediency to his old contacts.

No regard for strategic value or balance. In some ways, it may also have been an insurance policy for Ozil but we already had Ramsey in similar role frankly.

Where we could have showed a bit of better ambition and got Mahrez, we went for an aging asset from United.

Where we could have delayed on decision for striker till summer we went for the ex Dortmund charge at great expense to Giroud who could have potentially helped us in the europa.

We don’t have a player who can take advantage of what Granit has given us in releasing the ball quickly. We have players who prefer to pinch in and cannot take on players one on one.

In which case, they will always wait for the fullbacks to come up and the ball gets played sideways. Worse there is consequence to space left behind the fullbacks committed (This has been an issue not just for Bellerin or Kolasinac but Monreal who has made positional errors in part due to the way we have to play)

Whether we address this is of course questionable as it would seem the decisions in terms of recruitment are now left to men who prefer expediency of old contacts over what the manager may actually need.

Ashburton
Ashburton

“BUT the position we will need (Winger) is a question mark.” – Enter *dramatic music* REISS! Seriously though, if we are not going to give young ‘uns chances in a front-line as loaded as this, how can we ever be attractive to future talents? We will never be in a financial position to outspend the current moneybags.

dr Strange
dr Strange

We might as well keep Mustafi.

santori
santori

We WILL have to keep Mustafi because :

1) Koscielny is a liability injury and age.

2) Chambers has improved but isn’t exactly better.

3) Holding and Mavropanos also make plenty of mistakes and have a learning curve still.

Instead of getting top performers like Koulibaly or De Vrij (Free), we will be mining Mslintat’s contacts as he does favours for his befores.

All signings done at little consideration to what the new manager may feel he needs.

Which is why we are (rumour of course) in for a “young and abitious’ (read inexperience head like Arteta so they have full control over him.

Ashburton
Ashburton

So, what’s Sven’s end-game, in your opinion? Simply to fill Arsenal with crap players he took to BVB years ago? Scouting will always be a calculated gamble, and even recruiting seasoned players has no guarantees. Until proven otherwise, I believe Sven & Raul are actually more aware of the ability & potential of the guys being recommended than swathes of keyboard warriors (With all due respect to Lewis Ambrose who definitely knows waaaay more than me, I can’t believe his knowledge is superior to these highly regarded professionals operating at the highest level).

WellArsed
WellArsed

Wow, Lewis Ambrose’s assessment was far from a ringing endorsement! If he’s to be believed, and I’ve no reason to question his judgement, this guy would simply add to the defensive failings that have become a characteristic of Arsenal in recent years. No offence to Bauldy, but I really hope we get a new defensive coach!

Mayor McCheese
Mayor McCheese

I also hope we get some new medical personnel to help him deal with the gaping hole at the back.

santori
santori

Or they will buy yet another 21yr old half baked player.

We already had Holding. What we needed in January was a real article player who had experience to come in and either displace Chambers, Mustafi or back up Koscielny.

Instead we brought in another 21yr old in Mavropanos.

Good strategy? I think not.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

Sounds painful

DannyWerbeck
DannyWerbeck

My biggest issue with the guy is he dives constantly.

Laughing Stock
Laughing Stock

To the lads who go to the games: Good luck coming up with a song for this bloke

Xxxrob
Xxxrob

Something something Sok-ra-tis
(To tune of suck my kiss by chilli peppers).

The thing writes itself

santori
santori

We are going to struggle further in coming seasons.

This Snaheli/Mslintat/Gazidis cliche are going to sign players at their expediency with disregard to actual squad needs and without consult to manager.

How we are even confirming any signings without a new gaffer in is beyond me.

Last January’s signings were already made with little regard for overall balance of squad (Mhkitaryan instead of an effective wide player) and with poor regard for strategic issues (Aubaemyang cup tied and then letting GIroud go far too easily)

As I suspect, they are making signings to expediency of Mslintat’s contacts rather than what we actually need to strengthen.

I don’t have a good feeling about the club with Wenger’s departure.

The old man may have bumbled along but he had genuine interest in the club and acted as a pole of power to counter balance Mslintat/Sanheli/Gazidis to some extent.

With a new “young and ambitious” but of little experience manager in, it is exactly what they will want to control things and put him firmly under their thumb.

Be careful for what you wish for. I hope I’m wrong but I didn’t see January transfer helping us and it proved correct as we continued to struggle not only defensively but even in front of goal despite whatever tally Auba/Lacazette made.

There were matches we simply did not find a way to be effective enough in front of goal with no recourse to a different approach (Giroud)

If we sign Arteta, I will back him but I feel we are firmly going down the wrong path. There’s a lot of nonsense happening.

Welbinhio
Welbinhio

Zzzz..

Dave
Dave

Can I get less “View from the tactics columnist” and more Poo Meter?

Thanks,

SB Still
SB Still

While I don’t know the player to comment on the transfer, that the transfer business is not held up for the new manager reinforces the point that we are no longer looking for a manager and the opening is for a head coach.

Either that or that a new man has been identified and discussions are at an advanced state, including discussing player movements.

In either case it seems to rule out Allegri and points to Arteta as that new man.

While Arteta maybe the new Pep, Allegri’s pedigree would have pointed to an ambition to immediately challenge at the top. With Arteta, he is going need time especially when he is not going to be given the transfer war chest.

Guess, we all have to be patient.

Oberon
Oberon

Did he just swap Sokratis’s name for Mustafi’s?

Bendtnerschristmastree
Bendtnerschristmastree

One of the newly promoted teams should be open fpr a loan deal of Holding, right? He needs consistent game time if he’s to take the next step.

I think Chambers is ready to stay and fight for a starting spot. Give Mustafi til january (see if the new manager can fix him), keep mavropanos as an alternative. And if he’s available and fit, sign Alderweireld. He was the backbone of the spu*s defense in the 16/17 season, he’s experienced and a good passer.

That gives us four CBs, plus Nacho if needed.

daniel
daniel

I really like the idea of us signing Alderweireld, top defender, and you know it would upset the spurs fans

Laughing Stock
Laughing Stock

Alderweireld would cost at least 50 mill which arsenal would never pay, spurs wouldn’t sell to us and I don’t know why he’d want to join us but apart from that I think this idea has legs

Robins boost
Robins boost

Papastathopoulos sounds like a stopper CD in the mould of Kos and Mustafi. Given mustafi’s disaster last year, why are we planning to put 2 Mustafis on the pitch next season? I say get a DM anchorman who can be the guy that goes to win the ball aggrwssively, and have the 2 defenders be more cover defenders instead.

Chrispy
Chrispy

Sounds like a 20m turd. Hopefully it’s a smokescreen

Mpls
Mpls

Why can’t we be set to offer on a back who is ‘commanding in stature, with a good read of the game and impeccable positioning’?

Is it really that difficult to see that is what we need??

A new and improved BFG, not Mustafi.

David Hillier's luggage
David Hillier's luggage

Am I the only one a little worried by all this apparent transfer activity without a head coach/manager being appointed yet? I know football clubs are run differently now, with the manager taking more of back seat with transfer, but surely they still decide on the style of play and what targets they would like the the team to acquire? For example, if you had a Pulis type manager you wouldn’t just hand him a Santi Cazorla or Serge Gnabry, you get him Jonathan Walters or Charlie Adam.

If Arteta (or whoever) is being consulted in the same way Wenger was in 96, do you think he’s really requesting Bundesliga defenders in the style already at the club?

I just hope we’re not going too far with this new structure and letting a new scout, a new football administrator and a chief exec (brought in to enhance our strategic business and marketing decisions, not football ones) determine our style of play by handing our new manager whatever players they want/can get hold of.

UncleEddie
UncleEddie

Literally sounds like Mustafi.

The thing is, I actually don’t even mind Muzzy because when he plays well, he’s actually really good! Not sure if the real job is not just to iron out his inconsistencies

notThatSam
notThatSam

sounds far worse than Mustafi. Mustafi got a few caps for Germany. He’s regressed with the defensive shambles at the club.

Gooners & Roses
Gooners & Roses

So we are getting more of the same?