Mikel Arteta has praised Sokratis Papastathopoulos for how ‘supportive and helpful’ he was despite being left out of the squad.

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND: Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Arsenal is blocked by Ollie Palmer of AFC Wimbledon during the Papa John's Trophy Second Round match between AFC Wimbledon and Arsenal U21 at Plough Lane on December 08, 2020. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND: Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Arsenal is blocked by Ollie Palmer of AFC Wimbledon during the Papa John’s Trophy Second Round match between AFC Wimbledon and Arsenal U21 at Plough Lane on December 08, 2020. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Arsenal confirmed they were terminating Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ contract. They wrote that they were trying to give the defender the “freedom to negotiate a contract with a new club”.

As you’re probably already aware, Sokratis spent the last few months sitting out of first-team matches after Mikel Arteta left him out of the squad list. Arsenal were overstocked with non-homegrown players and had to leave two out.

Sokratis responded really positively to the decision, however. Arteta made note of that in his press conference on Thursday.

“First of all, I want to thank him because he is such a professional and great person to work with,” Arteta said. “It’s a shame because this season we have a lot of central defenders, we are overloaded with foreign players and I had to make a decision.

“It was a tough one and to be fair he took it really, really well, he has always been really supportive and helpful, so from the bottom of my heart I wish him the best.

“It has been a pleasure to work with him and I wish the best for him and his family in the next chapter.”

Over his period of absence from the squad, Sokratis never publicly complained or tried to undermine the club. When he had the chance to help out the u23s, he did so, both on the pitch in matches and working with the young players in training.

Young Brooke Norton-Cuffy earned his first involvements with the u23s this campaign, and he was one of the young players to post a thank-you to Sokratis after Wednesday’s announcement.

Any true Arsenal fan will now hope Sokratis gets a great move to a top club and ends the second half of the season on a high.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.