Arsenal are reportedly confident of signing Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos after launching an improved bid for the player, according to reports in the Metro.
The Greek international has now fallen down the pecking order following the recovery of first-choice defender Neven Subotic who missed the most of last season through injury, and will now partner new Dortmund captain Mats Hummels at the back.
The report states that the Gunners are close to signing Papastathopoulos after upping their offer for the player to £15.8 million. The North London club made a £10.9 million bid earlier to try and lure him to the Emirates Stadium, but it was turned down with Dortmund demanding closer to £20 million.
It further states that a compromise is close with a new bid going in and the player has also made it clear to Dortmund that he wants to make the move. The Emirates club are still waiting for the bid to be formally accepted but it’s thought to be a formality, while talks are already ongoing with Sokratis’ agent over personal terms.
The defender has earlier played for AC Milan, Genoa and Werder Bremen before joining Dortmund. He currently earns about £30,000-a-week with the Bundesliga outfit but can expect a pay rise of about £15,000-a-week if he moves to north London. His best position is central defence but he has often been deployed at right or left-back, as well as being comfortable in midfield.
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Key stats and Style of Play:
Sokratis made 28 appearances for Dortmund last season, making him a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s side. The Greek centre-back’s consistency has made him a favorite among fans at the Signal Iduna Park. He has been remarkably stable, which is a very tall order indeed in a remarkably unstable Dortmund back line that has seen him play with different partners on a weekly basis.
His defensive displays at the World Cup were very impressive as he played in every minute of Greece’s games in Brazil, winning 66% of his tackles and averaged 10 defensive actions on average per game. He made 27 appearances during last year’s Bundesliga campaign, averaging 2.7 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 1.6 fouls each match. He also netted a goal and provided two assists during this time.
He is feisty, gritty and sturdily built defender, who possesses a win-at-all-costs mentality as demonstrated on plenty of occasions last season. However, he plays on the edge and his brute strength can be neutralised by strict referees.
Should we Buy?
Wenger will be pleased with the immediate impact of Calum Chambers who has proved himself to be an excellent defensive addition since moving from Southampton in July, but he could use another versatile defender to make sure his squad is fully covered and will see Sokratis as a smart fit.
Sokratis would face an uphill challenge to slot straight into Wenger’s first team, but the French boss has shown he is looking to rotate in the early stages of the season as he has shown with Chambers. The Greece international can play in the middle or in the wide areas so could be afforded the same treatment, although his quality would certainly galvanise the Gunners ranks.
Signing him would mean that we will be investing in a player who has shown himself to be adaptable in a number of leagues. Koscielny and Mertesacker are destined to dominate the side’s centre-back ranks for the foreseeable future, but Sokratis would ensure Wenger doesn’t have to worry about a lack of strength in depth.
Rumour Rater : 4/5
1 – Never going to happen
2 – Unlikely
3 – Could be possible
4 – Likely
5 – Done deal
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