Dortmund defender Sokratis is close to joining Arsenal for a fee in the region of €20m, according to German outlet Bild.
Bild generally have a good record when it comes to Arsenal. According to analysis by Football Transfer League, they’re the second most reliable outlet for rumours involving the club (minimum five rumours). The fact they’re saying a deal for the 29-year-old is done is something worth making a note of.
Elsewhere, Gianluca Di Marzio is also reporting that a deal for Papastathopoulos is close. His website claims “The first purchase after Wenger will be Papastathopoulos of Borussia Dortmund, for which negotiations are at an advanced stage. Closure is very close.”
None of this completely guarantees the signing, both outlets have been wrong before. Still, given the move is now looking like a strong possibility, let’s take a look at what the player would bring to Arsenal.
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.
This season he’s made 43 appearances for Dortmund, scoring three goals. Transfermarkt value him at around €22m, so Arsenal are getting a good deal if the rumours 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.
To see the defender in action, check out the video below (skip to 0:50 to avoid all the adverts and build up):