Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Arsenal Desperate To Offload This Defensive Star: Why Arteta Must Get This Done

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

As reported by Daily Star, Arsenal are facing an uphill task of offloading Sokratis. The centre-back was tipped to move to Napoli, but with Kalidou Koulibaly staying put, the deal may be off. Everton are another club who have expressed interest in Sokratis. However, the Toffees have been linked with a move for Ben Godfrey, leaving Arsenal without any other options.

Arsenal’s Defensive Conundrum

Defence was Arsenal’s primary weakness ever since the decline of Arsene Wenger. The Gunners have faced a lot of criticism for their defensive vulnerability, which often cancelled out their excellent attack.

That was, until, the arrival of Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard has rejuvenated the Arsenal backline, which has now emerged as one of their strengths.

It has been complemented with some priority defensive signings including the likes of Gabriel Magalhaes, Kieran Tierney and Pablo Mari, combined with massive improvement to existing defenders like Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi.

As a matter of fact, Arteta is now facing a selection dilemma in the defensive department these days, with players like Tierney, Gabriel, Luiz and Holding all competing for three central defensive slots. Also, the likes of Calum Chambers, Mustafi and Mari are soon expected to return to full fitness while the Gunners also have William Saliba.

This is where things get complicated for Sokratis.

Arsenal are facing an uphill task of offloading Sokratis - Go time for the Greek?
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 02: Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Arsenal acknowledges the fans after the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Emirates Stadium on November 02, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Why Arsenal Must Offload Sokratis

Arsenal currently have nine central defensive options at their disposal if we include Tierney. It certainly doesn’t bode well for any team despite the hectic footballing schedule of the 2020/21 campaign.

Sokratis, in that regard, is one of those players who should be offloaded due to numerous reasons, including his lack of technical quality.

Indeed, the Greek is simply not good with the ball and often tends to get caught in possession. It won’t tune in well with Arteta, who tends to employ a deep-lying build-up play to counter high pressing teams like Liverpool. Sokratis’ lack of ball-playing quality, in that respect, could run the risk of him losing possession inside the Arsenal box even.

Another major weakness in the defender’s game is his lack of passing range. Most of Sokratis’ passes are non-progressive vertical passes, which contribute very little to the transition. Essentially, it doesn’t go hand in hand with the positional based system Arteta has implemented at Arsenal.

Tactical perspective aside, Sokratis’ sale could also serve as a slight financial boost for Arsenal, who are in desperate need of reinforcements in the midfield unit. The Gunners have already been linked with a move for Houssem Aouar, whose €50 million price-tag could be gettable if the club manages to get rid of fringe players like Sokratis and Chambers before the window slams shut today.

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