Mesut Özil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos will have the option to play for the Arsenal u23s over the coming months, after their senior squad exclusions.
Chris Wheatley reports that both Mesut Özil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos will get the opportunity to play for the Arsenal u23s over the coming months. He writes that Sokratis is “expected to feature ahead of a potential January move”.
U23 regulations allow for up to three overage players in the team, so there wouldn’t be any eligibility issues. Generally, those spaces are used by older players building their fitness.
Wheatley has close connections to Sokratis through D2S media, so there’s little reason to doubt the information. Whether Sokratis actually gets a January move will depend on the offer he receives, but he’ll want to be fit and ready.
To be clear, the Football.London journalist clarifies that the decision to play in these matches is completely up to the players. Arsenal won’t force them to feature for the u23s, they’re just opening the door to the possibility.
Neither Özil nor Sokratis can play in any competition before January. They aren’t in the Europa League squad, nor the Premier League squad, and that makes them ineligible for League Cup matches as well.
So if they want to play a match outside the London Colney training pitches, this is their best chance. For now, neither player has played a single competitive game for the Arsenal u23s, even when recovering from injury. But that may change in the coming months.
From an u23 point of view, I’m sure Steve Bould would welcome either player in. They can share their experience, and it always helps you to develop your game playing alongside senior players.