According to the BBC’s David Ornstein, Arsenal are on the cusp of completing the signing of Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The Greece international is believed to move the Emirates Stadium in the summer for a fee in the region of £16 million. He still has a year left to run out in his contract at the Signal Iduna Park.
This is undoubtedly the first step taken by a new look Arsenal transfer committee in order to overhaul the defence and bring in some proven names that will be an upgrade on the current crop of Gunners defenders.
With Per Mertesacker having retired at the end of the season and Laurent Koscielny nearing the twilight of his career, the North London side needed an experienced defender in their ranks that could anchor their backline for at least the next five years and have found just the right man in form of the 29-year-old Papastathopoulos.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos won 89.04% of his tackles in the Bundesliga in 2017/18:
• 73 attempted
• 65 won
• 8 lost
Only Julian Weigl (69) won more for Dortmund. pic.twitter.com/1KuYH1EOYZ
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 28, 2018
The Greek has been a mainstay for the Yellow and Blacks in Germany’s top tier and will undoubtedly add steel to a shaky and abject Arsenal defence of this past season. The likes of Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding have all performed below expections, leaving Arsenal in desperate need of summer recruitments.
However, the Gunners’ defensive signings aren’t set to end here as they’re looking to add three more defenders before the closure of the transfer window as chief Mislintat and head coach Unai Emery are looking to shake things up considerably at the back. The Gunners could sign another central defender and two full-backs.
Stephan Leichsteiner’s contract with Juventus expired at the end of the season, meaning he is now available on a free transfer and is strongly linked with Arsenal. The Gunners are expected to make the Swiss their second defensive signing of the summer and he will play backup to Hector Bellerin.