Two former Arsenal defenders, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, find themselves in contention for a spot at Sampdoria with both players currently unemployed.
With the recent injury of Sampdoria’s key defender, the club is in dire need of an experienced centre-back, and both former Gunners are in the fray.
However, the situation gets intriguing as another former Arsenal defender, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, emerges as a contender for the same spot.
Mustafi, now 31, had an underwhelming tenure with Arsenal. Having moved from Valencia for a reported £35 million in 2016, he donned the Arsenal shirt 151 times, tasting FA Cup victory on two occasions.
Nevertheless, his journey post-Arsenal has been a struggle.
The club’s manager, Andrea Mancini, admitted, “At present we just have three fit central defenders. We haven’t yet made a definite decision, but we probably will have to make one.”
With Mustafi being a free agent post his release from Levante, he seems a plausible option for Sampdoria.
Mancini further remarked, “Shkodran Mustafi could be the player we sign. We have three or four names on our list. There aren’t many players around who are out of contract. We will try to find out who is in the best shape physically. It isn’t easy.”
Yet, the plot thickens with the mention of Mustafi’s former team-mate at Arsenal, Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
The 35-year-old Greek international also finds himself without a club following his departure from Olympiacos over the summer. There’s brewing speculation that if Mustafi doesn’t secure the Sampdoria spot, Sokratis could well step into the frame.
Whether Mustafi, with his earlier association with Sampdoria, will hold the edge, or if Sokratis, with his vast experience, will emerge as the more suitable choice is a decision few clubs should have to make.
It’s yet to be seen who Sampdoria deem a better fit, but for Arsenal fans, it’s a keen reminder of how far the team as progressed under Mikel Arteta.