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Sokratis Papastathopoulos is trying to convince Arsenal to let him go to Napoli for free, allowing them to save on his wages, according to reports in Italy.
Italian outlet Corriere del Mezzogiorno (via AreaNapoli) report that Sokratis is hoping to leave Arsenal for free this summer. Napoli are after the centre-back, with Gennaro Gattuso personally contacting the player over a move.
The 32-year-old still has another 10 months on his contract, but he’s trying to convince the Gunners to cancel that deal so he can move to Italy for free. Arsenal would miss out on a transfer fee, but save 10 months of wages to spend on other players.
If Mikel Arteta doesn’t plan to use the player, it’s obviously also good to let him go and play somewhere else. The alternative is potentially damaging the mood in the squad when the lack of games unsettles him.
There are parallels to the situation with Laurent Koscielny last summer, who also wanted out for free. But that caused such a negative reaction at Arsenal because he was a key player in the team. The Gunners needed him, so it only made sense to sell for a fee.
By comparison, Arsenal were barely using Sokratis during the injury-hit latter stages of last season. When Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers return and William Saliba joins, let alone anyone else, it’s hardly going to make the Greek international a more crucial member of the squad.
Letting him go for a small fee, or no fee at all, isn’t such a ridiculous request.