Despite entering the final year of their contracts, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi are both very likely to stay at Arsenal this summer.
Sokratis and Mustafi have contracts with Arsenal until 2021, so this is really the last chance for the club to either extend or sell, but it seems the pair are likely to stay regardless of whether they receive new deals.
Football.London report that neither of the two is planning to leave the club this summer. Sokratis, in particular, reassessed his priorities after coronavirus. He feels it makes more sense for him to enter the 2021 free-agent market now.
Sam Dean of the Telegraph confirms the claims for Sokratis, adding that the defender has ‘no interest’ in going and it’s very unlikely he will after ‘no contact’ from potential buyers. The centre-back’s wages would prove problematic for anyone who did want him.
Sokratis change of heart?
It wasn’t too long ago that Sokratis was making public his desire to play matches, even if it meant leaving for lower wages. He said in March:
“I have one more year here but me, I never sit on my contract. I don’t care. If I’m not happy, I don’t play enough or the coach doesn’t like me, I don’t care about the contract.
“For me, the money is not important. It is important I feel good, I feel happy and the team is happy with me. If not, I take the road and I finish.
“I don’t think about it, I think every day to be happy and help the team. In the end, we will see but what I say is that I am not a player who sits on a contract – I don’t need it.”
Now, it looks like the player is ready to sit on his contract even though he can’t get a start under Mikel Arteta. The new Arsenal head coach has given Sokratis one minute of football in the last seven games, despite the defender making every single squad.
Unfortunately, Sokratis clearly doesn’t believe he’ll get the move he wants in the current market. Regardless of whether Arteta will actually play him, it seems Arsenal will have his wages on the books for another year.
Earlier this week, The Independent reported that Stuttgart were planning to make multiple approaches to Arsenal this summer, holding an interest in Sokratis as well as Konstantinos Mavropanos, who we now know has joined them on loan for next season after renewing his Arsenal contract.
It’s hard to say how much Arsenal would want for Sokratis. He’s 32 and doesn’t have long on his contract, but he’s still an experienced international centre-back and the club spent around £17.6m for him.