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Arsenal are closing in on signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos with Kicker in Germany reporting that the player will now undergo a medical ‘in the coming week’ as the ‘fine details’ of the transfer are worked out.
The German publication writes that the move is ‘almost certain’ and he will sign a deal to keep him at Arsenal until 2021.
Sokratis would represent the third player with a strong Borussia Dortmund connection to be signed by the club following the arrival of Sven Mislintat.
Let’s start off with the basics.
Sokratis is 29 years old (30 in June), and plays for Greece and Borussia Dortmund, joining the Bundesliga club in 2013. He now has one year left on his contract.
He stands at 6’1″, and plays centre-back for club and country.
Last season, he made 43 appearances for Dortmund, scoring three goals. Transfermarkt value him at around €22m, so Arsenal are getting a good deal if the rumours on price are true.
According to those who watch him, Sokratis should have no trouble fitting into the intense, attacking football philosophy that Arsenal play, as that’s what he’s already used to at Dortmund.
Last year, a Dortmund fan analysed the defender’s step up after Mats Hummels left for Bayern Munich. He noted that the defender made the second most tackles per game in the league, as well as being right up there for blocks. Since that article, Sokratis has actually increased his tackling numbers, so it’s fair to say he’s not afraid to get stuck in.
His passing is also very strong, and he’s strong in the air, but does tend to commit fouls often.
This season, Dortmund have had a much tougher campaign, and Sokratis has struggled with a dip in form as much as the rest of the team. Only Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig conceded more goals from the top eight teams.
Hopefully that’s only temporary, and more to do with the team than Sokratis himself. We’ll have to wait and see to find out, and trust that Sven Mislintat and the Arsenal scouts know what they’re doing.