Greek football expert and Sport24 reporter Dimitris Samolis reckons that Sven Mislintat unearthed a real gem in Konstantinos Mavropanos.
Mavropanos signed for Arsenal for £2m from Greek side PAS Giannina in January and got his first team debut, unexpectedly, against Manchester United on Sunday.
According to Samolis, the transfer caused waves in the 20-year-old’s homeland because they had not seen a youngster, who had made just 16 appearances in the Greek league, sign for a club like Arsenal before.
“Of course, there are Greek players who play in top level, like [Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis] Papastathopoulos and [Roma’s Kostas] Manolas,” said the Greek football expert.
“But what surprised us is that a 20-year-old centre-back with 16 appearances will continue his career in Arsenal.
“Every newspaper and website gave so much focus to this transfer.”
“The biggest advantage of Mavropanos is his body. Tall player and powerful,” Samolis added.
“Although he is tall, he is also fast and agile. He is very good with the head, since he can score 5-6 goals per season.
“Very important with him is his character. Humble, patient and loves to work hard.”
Arsenal do need a first team centre-back at the moment given that they never replaced Gabriel when he signed for Valencia last summer. Nor have they replaced Per Mertesacker who retires from playing to take over as head of the academy at the end of the season.
Plus, Laurent Koscielny’s Achilles is giving him an increasing amount of hassle so it’s unclear how long he’ll play for and Mustafi seems to just blunder from one mistake to the next.
Although Mavro obviously isn’t the short-term solution we need right now, it’s good to see Arsenal preparing for the future and Mislintat getting stuck in already.