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As per a report from The Sun, Arsenal are eyeing a sensational summer swoop for Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The report has also gone on to claim that manager Arsene Wenger is determined to sign a new centre-back in the upcoming summer window and that he has identified the 29-year-old as a potential target.
However, a tough battle is likely to ensue for his signature as The Sun claims that the likes of Manchester United, Juventus and Chelsea are also interested.
Rated at around £25million (according to The Sun), Sokratis seems like a promising choice for the Gunners to pursue. Interestingly, he arrived at Dortmund back in 2013 when Jurgen Klopp was still the manager of the German giants.
Although he made a slow start, Sokratis eventually established himself and is now regarded as one of the mainstays at the club. That said, his contract runs until 2019 and this summer would be a good time for the club to sanction a move.
The need for a new centre-back at Arsenal is quite apparent. As far as regular starters are concerned, Laurent Koscielny is on the wrong side of 30 and Per Mertesacker is set to retire at the end of the season. Moreover, Koscielny’s performances have been rather poor of late. That leaves the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers as the options.
In recent times, Wenger has utilised Mustafi and Chambers together but it is unwise to progress with just 3 central defenders at hand – 2 of whom are relatively young and a bit inexperienced.
Also, the Gunners have often relied on using a three-man backline at times. Lately, they have used a four-man backline but if Wenger were to revert to that formation, he would need a quality centre-back.
Sokratis, with all his skills and experience, could prove to be a smart choice. Dortmund are known for playing intense, attacking football and so the player could fit right into Wenger’s philosophy at Arsenal.
Thus, given a choice, the French manager must fight off competition to acquire the Greek defender’s services. £25million is a fair price for a player like Sokratis and he could add immense value to a defence line that has often looked weak this season.