Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Arsenal Closing In With £17.5m Offer For Borussia Dortmund Defensive Ace: Good Fit For The Gunners?

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Bishwaraj Bhattacharyya
Former athlete. Now a journalist hoping to cover football no matter the league or country.

Arsenal are reportedly close to making a £17.5m offer for Borussia Dortmund centre-back, Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The Gunners currently have the mammoth task of replacing their manager, Arsene Wenger, who has almost single-handedly carried the club on his back for 22 long years.

Maybe bolstering the squad with top-pedigree talents will go a long way in making the transition easier. The head of the club’s recruiting process, Sven Mislintat, certainly favours the prospects of Sokratis, who has been rather impressive in the Bundesliga for the past 7 seasons.

The 29-year-old has been a prominent figure in the Dortmund lineup ever since Mats Hummels’ departed for Bayern Munich. He has appeared in 197 games for BVB, 41 of those registered during this season alone.

It was the current Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, who had brought Sokratis to the Westfalstadion right after the 2012/13 season. The centre-back did face a few obstacles before fully settling into the Dortmund side and currently holds seniority over Omer Toprak and Manuel Akanji.

Sokratis is one of the traditional centre-halves who has adapted himself to the requirements of the modern game. He is adept at maintaining defensive stability by holding onto possession quite well, in addition to his well-timed challenges and acute game-reading abilities, something Arsenal has lacked throughout the 2017/18 season. The past 3 games for the North London outfit are evidence enough of the shortcomings the backline have suffered through.

The Gunners were leading 1-0 over Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League semi-final. But Laurent Koscielny failed to clear the danger by taking on his compatriot in a head-to-head battle, allowing the La Liga side to equalize late into the game and carry a distinct advantage to the second leg of the tie.

The previous two league fixtures against Southampton and Newcastle United were not short of their own disasters at the back. Shkodran Mustafi’s woeful marking inside the penalty box allowed strikers like Shane Long and Ayoze Perez get easy tap-ins from close range and get their side in leading positions.

Sokratis is a leader and a defender with a lot of top-flight European experience. He is not only capable of securing the Arsenal defence but the North London side will also be getting a prestigious name for a relatively cheap price.

Read More: Former Arsenal Legend Interested To Take Charge At The Emirates: Perfect Replacement For Wenger?

The Greek international might also feel at home with his former teammates, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who have already settled into the Emirates.

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